The South African Cheese Festival was held over the Freedom Day long weekend from Saturday 25 to Monday 27 April with a virtual festival on their Facebook page where the finest South African dairy products were recognised and celebrated. Local dairy producer Lactalis SA’s Président Extra Mature Cheddar was crowned the South African Dairy Product of the Year at the Agri-Expo Qualité Awards on Thursday 26 March 2020. This year’s award ceremony of the annual SA Dairy Championships, the largest dairy competition in Africa, was presented as a virtual event for the first time in its 187th anniversary in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. You can watch the full ceremony here. The judging of the competition took place on 27 February in Cape Town before the first coronavirus case was recorded in South Africa. However, according to Johan Ehlers, Chief Executive of Agri-Expo, the organiser of the SA Dairy Championships since 1834, they had to think innovatively about presenting this year’s awards event. “The cancellation of the black-tie event does not put a damper on the fact that a record number of 975 products from 74 manufacturers competed in more than 100 different classes this year. The increase in entries and the fact that 11 new manufacturers joined, is good news for the dairy industry, which is being hampered by challenges such as the ongoing drought and now also the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ehlers says.
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