SOUTH AFRICA – Westfalia Fruit, a South Africa-based multinational supplier of fresh fruit and related processed products has appointed  Dr Khotso Mokhele as the new Chair of the Board of both the subsidiary and its parent company, HMH group.

Mokhele joined the HMH board as a non-executive director in 2013 and is the founder of the Academy of Science of South Africa and the National Research Foundation.

“I would like to thank the boards of the HMH Group and Westfalia Fruit International for their confidence in appointing me as the new chair of both boards,” Mokhele said.

“We have ambitious plans for the future, to continue positively developing the global avocado industry for the long term supported by research, innovation and commitment of our Westfalia colleagues.”

His appointment comes at a time when a sustainable fruit industry must be ideally focused on three pillars that include environmental, social and governance.

According to the company, these pillars enhance the ability to create a long-term value chain, creating jobs and ensuring the future of the industry.

In an interview, Mokhele talked about his vision, growth opportunities industry, and how geopolitics are impacting Westfalia Fruit highlighting that economic and value chain challenges are complex and interlinked.

“Internal and external projects currently underway centre on more collaboration and communication among different stakeholders in the supply chain, compliance with food safety, traceability, and environmental regulations, and working towards a holistic risk management view to identify and mitigate potential risks and hazards from research to consumer in the short, medium, and longer term,” he explained.

He assured that continued focus shall be placed on creating sustainable value for the company and stakeholders.

Mokhele noted that sustainability remains a core focus for Westfalia, in line with its heritage as well as the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals and various long-term projects are underway to pioneer the way forward in the agricultural sector.

In addition, according to him, optimal use on a sustainable basis of resources is necessary to be assessed in all aspects, to improve the environmental footprint, comply with legislation and deliver on key principles of sustainable production.

He added that collaborative efforts of government and private entities are crucial as the company moves forward to open new markets for South African produce.

The proactive involvement of the government in this regard has the potential to significantly enhance the growth of the avocado industry, generate employment opportunities, and contribute to the overall economic development of South Africa.

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