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Casidra recently announced Dr Keith du Plessis as its incoming CEO, effective 1 June 2022.
Du Plessis’ experience spans more than 19 years in the agricultural value chain in various capacities, ranging from research and development to investment and trade promotion. He spent more than nine years in the agricultural research and development space at the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in Stellenbosch, and more than ten years as head of the agro-processing sector at the Coega Development Corporation (CDC) in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape.
His career started in 2002 as a researcher in the soil and water science division at ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, where he focussed on soil health and biological wastewater treatment systems. His research findings have been published in scientific, semi-scientific and popular journals, and have also been presented at local and international scientific conferences.
In 2009, Du Plessis joined the ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij management team as acting programme manager for the institute’s post-harvest and wine technology division.
In 2012, he joined the business development unit at CDC as sector lead for the attraction of agro-processing and aquaculture investments into the Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ), where his core focus was to attract foreign and domestic direct investment in the agro-processing sector within the Coega SEZ and the larger Eastern Cape. His portfolio included food and high-value crop processing, biofibres and aquaculture.
Du Plessis also developed several projects that required the integration of the supply of raw materials to the production facilities situated in the Coega SEZ. He led the team in developing and implementing the strategy for the multi-billion rand Coega Aquaculture Development Zone in the Coega SEZ.
Read more about how agriculture is a key driver in economic growth here.
Du Plessis holds a PhD and MSc in microbiology, as well as an MPhil in environmental management from Stellenbosch University. He also holds a BSc and BSc (Hons) from the University of the Western Cape. He successfully transitioned from natural science to business management and completed an MBA at Stellenbosch University Business School in 2011. Currently, he is pursuing a BCom law degree through Unisa.
Du Plessis has a passion for people, and his personal vision is to bring hope and inspiration to everyone he encounters.
Casidra renders project management services to departments within the Western Cape Government, local authorities, businesses, non-governmental organisations community-based organisations (CBOs), academic institutions, other governmental agencies and international assistance institutions. – Press release, Casidra