As the world’s fruit and vegetable community prepare to meet at Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Spain (4 – 6 October), an annual commercial fair is known as an innovation stage for the market. The Westfalia Fruit Group is showcasing four pioneering projects that have taken sustainable agriculture to the next level.
Customized water conservation plans
As Westfalia operates in various types of climates with different water conditions, the company is continuously building on its industry-leading water strategy to decrease its water use by 50% by 2030.
Water plans already developed for South Africa, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Portugal are reporting on water-related, key performance indicators to track the progress of water savings and the success of the interventions chosen.
In a leading approach, each operation is working on and will submit an 8-year Water Plan that outlines how they will decrease water use and improve water use efficiency. The KPIs, will be reported every four months to track the performance of each water-saving intervention. Based on the success of this program, Westfalia is developing and implementing customized plans for each of its operations worldwide.
Developing a new buzz
With regulations for pesticide use continuing to tighten around the world, Westfalia is turning to biological control methods as a more sustainable way of controlling pests. In projects in Chile and Colombia, Westfalia is rearing five different beetle and insect predators for the control of White and Red scale, mites, aphids, and mealybugs among others in Citrus, Avocados, and Blueberries.
Working with a new expert entomologist Westfalia aims to increase the production of pests and improve the harvest systems for the different insects produced. The release of these natural enemies produced in the company’s laboratory is incorporated into the crop management program. Westfalia is working to planning to expand this approach beyond Chile and Colombia.
Farming in nature
Another pioneering project is underway in Portugal, where Westfalia’s conservation work is protecting a highly biodiverse habitat and the endemic species found within it. The previously abandoned farm is situated within a Site of Community Importance and managed as a Natura 2000 site.
Before, the current avocado orchard was planted in the Alcácer do Sal habitat in Portugal, Westfalia and its local partners carried out floral inventories and environmental impact surveys. This extensive process guided the development of the agricultural project and determined which areas of the reserve needed to be preserved.
As required under both Portuguese and EU law, Westfalia is maintaining 50% of the land as a reserve to protect the species that live there, in addition, the company’s maintenance and tree branch clearing have spared the area from the devastating wildfires that have scarred many other parts of the country this summer.
The project has already demonstrated to locals its sustainability credentials in terms of biodiversity conservation and low water use.
The new facility in France
Westfalia Fruit France also announces the construction of its new facility in Graveson, in the Provence area of southern France. This new state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to be operational in November 2022 and will include avocado storage, ripening rooms, and packing capability to support Westfalia’s pan-European operations.
In addition, the new facility in Graveson has been built with extensive energy-saving facilities, including solar panels across the roof space, taking steps to reduce the carbon footprint and increase the capacity of green energy use towards our sustainable goals.