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Westfalia’s Mozambican litchi programme brings the sweet taste of success

 Westfalia’s Mozambican litchi programme brings the sweet taste of success

MANICA PROVINCE, MOZAMBIQUE – In a victory for more than 200 smallholder growers, Westfalia Fruit is celebrating a bountiful 2020 litchi season in Mozambique.

The returns from the 2020 bumper crop are uplifting a community of small-scale farmers in Manica Province, who, with the help of Westfalia over the past five years, have secured market access to Europe, GlobalGAP status, and a World Bank grant to boost productivity.

The group of 200+ farmers, which grew from a small project consisting of eight smallholder growers in 2015, has today helped transform a once poverty-stricken community by stimulating the local economy and boosting employment.

Westfalia started working with litchi growers in Manica in 2014 after setting up an avocado-growing project in the country. At the time, Westfalia recognised the potential of the litchis grown by these farmers, as they are harvested two weeks ahead of litchis in Madagascar, enabling importers to extend the litchi season.  At the time, litchis grown on the farms were sold only on the domestic market, and the market was approaching saturation, with prices declining.

The Manica Litchi Growers Association (MLGA) was formed in 2016, and with some clever logistics, Westfalia was able to facilitate the marketing and export of the litchis to Europe to complement the Madagascan litchi season with high quality, fully certified fruit. Based on the initial success, growers in Manica increased their plantings, and Westfalia initiated training programmes which enabled growers to achieve GlobalGap and GRASP status. More and more growers joined the MLGA over the years.

“The growers embraced training and are extremely proud of their subsequent accreditations,” says Westfalia Fruto Moçambique Programme Coordinator, Esnath Pachawo.

Many of the growers began as subsistence farmers, and are gradually commercialising as they find success through the programme.

“We are thrilled with the success of the project and the positive effect it has had on the local community,” says CEO of Westfalia Fruit Africa, Zac Bard.

“In this very remote part of the world, we see young people who are optimistic about the future of their litchi crops coming back to assist and take over their family farms,” says Bard. “We look forward to seeing the area transform into the fruit basket of Mozambique.”

Most recently, the World Bank awarded a grant to Westfalia to provide the large group of growers with microjet irrigations systems that will improve the size of their fruit and raise the potential for these fruits to fetch premium prices. This fund also covers a roll-over fertiliser programme and a litchi-preservation non-sulphur machine for the packhouse.

“The effect of the successful litchi project is evident in the area, and we see the lives of smallholders changing completely,” says Westfalia Fruto Moçambique General Manager, Mike Jahme. “Growers are expanding, and today some of the growers are seen as commercial farmers. It is extremely rewarding to see such development in such a remote part of the world,” he adds.

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New era for Agricom Chile as Hans Eben takes on CEO role

New era for Agricom Chile as Hans Eben takes on CEO role - Hans Eben CEO of Agricom Chile
Press release


SANTIAGO, Chile, September 21, 2020 – Westfalia Fruit International Ltd has announced that Hans Eben has taken on the role of CEO at its fully owned subsidiary Agricom Ltda. Eben is well known in Chile, having spent the past 18 years in leadership positions within Unilever.   

Hans will be succeeding Rodrigo Barros, the founder of Agricom, who has retired after four decades at the helm of this leading Chilean agribusiness. Born in Chile, Hans has worked his entire career at Unilever, heading up companies with manufacturing plants and operations under his scope. His most recent role was as Country Manager for Unilever in Chile. Prior to that, Hans served as Unilever Country Manager in Peru as well as Marketing Director for Unilever in Latin America. Early in his career Hans was based in the UK where he was Vice President of the Unilever Marketing Academy.

In his new role Hans will be managing all aspects of the Agricom business in Chile, providing strategic, financial, operational and stakeholder support to ensure the sustainability, profitability and further advancement of the business.

“I’m excited to be contributing towards the wellbeing of millions of people around the world with the sustainably grown, nutritious and colourful products of the Westfalia family,” states Hans, who is based at Agricom’s Santiago headquarters.

Alk Brand, CEO of Westfalia Fruit, comments on the appointment: “We are pleased that Hans agreed to join us at an exciting time for the Group and for our Chilean operation. Chile is a strategic region for Westfalia and we look forward to continuing to promote Chilean fruit and our growers through our global platforms. The skills that Hans brings are ideal for the execution of this vision.”

Hans believes in making a difference in society and the industries in which he operates, of which the following are examples: · Director Icare and President Innovation Committee (1200-company association) · President Global Pact United Nations, connecting Industry, Government, NGOs on SDGs · President Advisory Board B Corp Chile · Advisory Board Digital Talent Chile · Consultant to the Minister of Women on gender-based violence and Minister of Science for Technology based companies · Advisory Board for “We Need to talk about Chile”/”Tenemos que Hablar de Chile” · Speaker different forums about Sustainable Business eg COP25 Madrid · Past Director Food and Beverage Association · Past Director National Association of Advertising in Chile and Peru · Past Director National Association Consumer Goods Companies Peru.

About Westfalia Fruit

Established in 1949, the Westfalia Fruit Group supplies fresh produce and related value-added products to international markets. An integrated supply chain incorporating all activities ‘from pip to plate’ enables it to market quality fruit from across the globe throughout the year. For more information visit, @WestfaliaFruit and #avoexperts.  

Photo: Hans Eben CEO of Agricom Chile (Westfalia Fruit Group)

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Westfalia Fruit sends Colombian avocados to Japan

Westfalia Fruit sends Colombian avocados to Japan

After years of hard work, a container carrying 16 tonnes of quality Colombian Hass avocados has been exported from Westfalia Fruit Colombia (WFC) to Yokohama, Japan. This is the first time that WFC has shipped avocados to the country.

“Colombia’s avocados are in such good condition that WFC is confident shipping avocados to markets that require longer transit times – including Japan, Russia and the Middle East,” says WFC General Manager, and newly elected Vice Chairperson of the Colombian Avocado Board, Pedro Aguilar.

Westfalia Fruit Farms in Colombia has successfully developed its orchards in Sonsón over the past four years, with a constant vision to export its quality fruits to new diverse markets. The excellent agro-ecological conditions in the Sonsón region – which include rich soil with good drainage, warm temperatures, regular precipitation and optimal altitude – are ideal for growing Hass avocados. As a result, WFC is diversifying its markets and has become a major player in global destinations.

The Japanese government worked closely with WFC to ensure the country’s strict technical requirements were met for successful exportation. The avocados left Port Buenaventura, Colombia in mid-January, and the shipment arrived in Yokohama at the beginning of February after fulfilling strict pest control requirements. WFC successfully met the demand for intensive monitoring and surveillance of its high-quality fruit during the entire process.

“We made sure our shipment met strict controls,” says Gilma Orrego, WFC Technical Manager. “We ensured optimal harvesting and plant packaging processes, and the best cooling processes along the way. We also made sure that the fruits consisted of adequate dry matter to guarantee good flavour upon arrival at their destination.”

The Colombian Agricultural Institute also assisted with monitoring the process – from the Japanese government’s very first visit to WFC’s orchards, to the packing and shipment of the fruits.

“We were very careful to introduce our fruit at the right time, in a context where we could develop sustainable business in a long-term commercial relationship,” says Juliana Florez, WFC Commercial Manager. “We waited until we could introduce our high-quality fruit with the best taste – even if it meant waiting a few months after the market was open to us.”

This is yet another boost for the Colombian avocado trade after the World Avocado Congress 2019, sponsored by Westfalia Fruit and held in Colombia, brought much attention and success to the country’s avocado industry.

In another milestone for Colombian avocados, the newly formed Colombia Avocado Board (CAB) was this month certified as an official importer association under the Hass Avocado Promotion, Research and Information Order. CAB will now receive 85% of the assessments paid on Colombia Hass avocados to the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) for research, promotion and information on avocados from Colombia in the United States market.