At Westfalia we pride ourselves on our strong Corporate Social Investment programmes aimed at improving the lives of communities in the areas in which we operate. Central to many of these programmes are partnerships such as those with customers Albert Heijn and Waitrose through their foundations, which make funding available to bring CSI initiatives to fruition. Another central factor is employee participation, which ensures that programmes remain relevant to local communities.

Investing in Education

Creating employment to empower communities

Commitment to employment equity and workforce diversity is an integral part of Westfalia Fruit’s business plan. Training and adult education programmes across the globe are aimed at empowering employees, particularly those from previously disadvantaged groups, to achieve their full potential.  Below are just some examples of the projects and initiatives the Westfalia Group continues to support.

Our Graduate Development and Internship programme recruits and trains approximately 25 students annually. It aims at providing work experience and exposure to graduates in preparation for the work environment.

WFE’s Artisan Development programme has trained 11 apprentices since 2011. Seven of  the apprentices have been permanently appointed upon completion of the programme, with five of the candidates holding supervisory positions in our South Africa operations.

Bursaries: Between 2017 and 2020 Westfalia Fruit Estates in South Africa has awarded bursaries to 85 students studying in various fields.

Awards Programme: Since 2004 we have held annual excellence awards that recognise the best grade-point averages achieved by the school children of our employees.

Libraries: Several of our operations have established libraries both in our offices for employees and their families to enjoy and also in specific education settings such as local schools and child-care facilities.  In more remote areas in South America we have 10 mobile libraries reaching out to distant communities.

Our Formal Education Funding programme is aimed at staff who want to pursue technical, technological, university or advanced training studies in the country, with financing shared between the employees and the company.

Apprenticeships: Every year students are hosted from technical high schools located near our Chilean packhouses and offering professional-level apprentices, with agronomy particularly popular.

Infrastructure: In South America we have been able to make a significant impact on many children’s lives by investing in additional classrooms, internet access and through ongoing food donations to remote areas.

Early Childhood Development

Westfalia Fruit Estate’s Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) in Modjadjiskloof near Tzaneen opened its doors in 2006 and is a registered Non-Profit Organisation. Today the facility has five classrooms with the potential to accommodate 217 children.

The ECD provides quality education and contributes to a good start in life for the children, and has also created full-time employment for ten people. Committed funding from WFE, Waitrose and Partners Foundation and the Department of Social Development makes it possible for the centre to cover its daily operational costs. Most of the children’s parents are employed by WFE, and they have peace of mind knowing that their children are safe and well cared for while they are at work. The centre also provides an aftercare service for children after normal school hours. The children attending the ECD have a transport vehicle dedicated to carrying them between their homes and the centre in the mornings and afternoons.

Resource Centre

Children from the surrounding communities enjoy access to the Fundani Nonke Resource Centre, also on the WFE property. The centre is equipped with 28 computers, a library, playroom and classroom. The Resource Centre caters for the educational needs for children from grade R to grade 12. Waitrose and Partners Foundation, WFE and Albert Heijn have made it possible for the Resource Centre to continue functioning

Employee Healthcare and Wellbeing

The wellbeing of our staff, including physical and mental health, is a priority across the Group. Support and initiatives are tailored to the needs of each local operation.

As a Group, we have several established programmes protecting the wellbeing of our employees, such as our Wellness Centre at Westfalia Fruit Estate, South Africa, or the advice centres available in our South American operations, which help with social-security claims and benefits.

In response to the global Covid-19 Pandemic, our teams has been able to adapt and deliver more robust wellbeing programmes delivering economic, health and social support.


The organisation liaises with community stakeholders at municipal, provincial and national government levels. Numerous highly successful projects have been undertaken over the years, including:

  • Bee-keeping training and support with 2,800 bee hives in local operations where local communities farm the honey and sell it commercially;
  • Eco-tourism projects offering hiking trails and capacity building in local communities in tourism activities such as tour guides;
  • A community orange orchard project which is managed by the local community with various technical input from local management;
  • Training provided to growers in a community in Colombia to assist them in obtaining GlobalGAP certification and achieving sustainable orchard maintenance;
  • Technical support provided to many emerging avocado farmers in local regions;
  • Sponsorship of youth and adult football teams; and
  • WFE’s Artisan Development programme has trained 11 apprentices since 2011 – seven of whom were permanently appointed upon completion, with five holding supervisory positions.