South Africa’s love of avos has given Woolworths the opportunity to help develop emerging farmers in the Limpopo region. Customers expect to find avos in their supermarkets 12 months of the year. However, due to growing seasons in the traditional avocado-growing regions, Woolworths has had to import avos from Spain in order to meet local demand for about three months of the year. Not content with that situation, Woolworths asked its long-time local avo supplier, Westfalia, to assist in identifying possible projects that could assist them in reducing their dependence on imported fruit while also providing a market for emerging farmers. Westfalia identified a group of small-scale farmers in the Venda area who, due to favourable climatic conditions, are able to harvest several weeks earlier than the traditional growing areas around Tzaneen. The big challenge was finding ways to combat black spot, a fungus that regularly affects the skin, but not the flavour, of these Venda-grown avos. With a series of loans from Woolies and Westfalia’s technical expertise, these emerging farmers have now been able to improve the quality of their fruit to meet Woolworths customers’ exacting standards. Now in its second season, the project is a win-win-win situation: Woolworths is being true to its Good business journey commitments to combat climate change and support local enterprise, the farmers are getting the technical and financial assistance they need to produce top quality fruit and grow their businesses, and, of course, Woolies customers can enjoy locally grown avos for longer. ENDS ___________________________________________________________NOTES FOR THE EDITOR About Avocados Did you know that avocados are one of the Top 10 most sold products at Woolworths? Did you know that avos are rich in vitamins A, C and E, known to assist in various essential cellular functions and in delaying diseases such as heart disease and many types of cancer? Did you know that avos contain no cholesterol and are high in mono-unsaturated fat? Did you know that avos have a high level of folate, which is essential for the development of the foetus, making them a great fruit for pregnant women? Did you know that avos are rich in vitamin B6, which helps reduce stress? Did you know that half an avo contains 161 calories, less than 30g of cheese and 20 calories less than a small bag of peanuts? Did you know that the avo has been awarded the South African Heart Foundation’s Heart Mark in recognition of its capacity to reduce the risk of coronary disease? Did you know that avos are also full of potassium, a mineral necessary for maintaining the right balance of water in the body? Woolworths Good business journey Woolworths Good business journey is a comprehensive 5-year plan announced in April 2007 to help people and planet. It incorporates a series of challenging targets and commitments centred on four key priorities: accelerating transformation, driving social development, enhancing Woolworths’ environmental focus and addressing climate change. Woolworths and transformation The transformation pillar of Woolworths Good business journey embraces the dti’s broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) scorecard framework. This includes equity ownership, management control, employment equity, skills development, preferential procurement, enterprise development and socio-economic development. Enterprise development projects are defined as small existing or start-up businesses, cooperatives or other enterprises. Woolworths contributes to their future sustainable growth by supporting, mentoring and procuring their products and services. Westfalia South Africa’s largest avocado producer, Westfalia is a long-standing Woolworths supplier and has received two eco-efficiency awards from Woolworths in recognition of the sterling work they do, particularly in terms of understanding the carbon footprint of their avocado production.