As global food producers meet in Germany at Fruit Logistica 2023, the world’s leading exhibition for fresh produce (8-10 Feb), the Westfalia Fruit Group, a multinational supplier of avocados and a range of fresh vegetables and fruit, is showcasing three innovative agricultural approaches that are helping to shape the future of food through sustainable development.

Helping smallholder farmers realise big ambitions

In Africa, South America and beyond Westfalia Fruit is growing its partnerships with smallholder farmers to help provide access to global markets and empower them to build sustainable livelihoods, lifting communities out of poverty while meeting burgeoning consumer demand for avocados and other fruits.

One example is in Peru where Westfalia is collaborating with a cooperative of 80 experienced avocado producers to help them achieve Global G.A.P. certification with another collective of growers having successfully achieved Rain Forest Alliance certification in 2022. In Tanzania, Westfalia has supported a group of farmers to develop avocado production for the late international marketing window.

Empowerment through education

Education is a powerful tool that changes lives and the world over. The legacy of Westfalia’s iconic founder, Dr Hans Merensky, is the Foundation he created to provide support for students to study a range of subjects, with a focus on agriculture-related disciplines.

In the past three years in South Africa, for example, Westfalia has awarded 45 bursaries and enrolled more than 100 candidates in apprenticeship and learnership programmes, many of whom were facing an uncertain future. In Chile, the company is working with several schools focussing on the environment and education, while both in Chile and Colombia Westfalia supports colleagues with study time off work, creating more opportunities so they are able to develop their employment prospects.

Pioneering research and development 

Westfalia is a world leader in applied research dealing with subtropical crops, with a specific focus on avocados and its research division is the largest privately-funded subtropical fruit research organisation in the world.

The in-house dedicated team of scientists and technicians in South Africa, and at regional hubs around the world, focuses on three key research areas to drive the industry forward: breeding programmes, increasing the effective use of biological and organic inputs and continuous development and exploration that all have an impact on sustainability and food security.