The Products and Services division of WTS can be subdivided into a Quality Assurance (QA), Market Access (MA), and Intellectual Property (IP) department. Both departments do not conduct research per se, but rather deliver a service to the greater Westfalia and aim to link to the strategy of diversification, integration and globalization.
The QA department assist Westfalia owned as well as privately owned packhouses that export through Westfalia Marketing by taking library trays of each consignment of fruit during the export season. Samples are collected from different orchards, growers and packhouses, but also from different fruit sizes and stored at simulated shipping conditions. After between 3-4 weeks storage, postharvest ripening quality is evaluated. Results from this process if fed back into the system, and critical decisions regarding fruit quality on the European market can be made on sound fruit quality results. The QA team is lead by Dr Jurg Bezuidenout. Jurg has a DSc in Plant Pathology from the University of Pretoria and over 25 years experience at Westfalia.
Due to its technical expertise WTS is also involved in co-ordinating market access applications to new markets for export mangoes and avocados. This work is done on behalf of the subtropical fruit industry of South Africa. Currently applications for avocado market access are in process for the USA, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, China and Israel. In the case of export mangoes market access applications have been done to India, China, Vietnam, Japan and USA. Dr Jan van Niekerk facilitates the Market Access program, new product development, and providing technical assistance to our Colombian partners. Jan obtained an MScAgric and PhDAgric from the University of Stellenbosch and joined WTS in 2008.
The IP department is responsible for the acquisition and management of rights to specific cultivars, as well as the protection of this material. This includes assuring international protection through either Plant Breeders’ Rights or Plant Patents. They are also responsible for the controlled international distribution of Westfalia owned material, ensuring all relevant paperwork is in place, and liaising with international partners to ensure the material is responsibly managed in each country. This department is also responsible for avocado and mango grower clubs within South Africa. Theo Bekker heads up the IP team. Theo holds an MScAgric in Horticulture from the University of Pretoria and a Masters in Business Leadership from the School of Business Leadership of UNISA. Beyond his role as General Manager of WTS, Stefan Köhne is also assists our international partners and is regularly abroad visiting these partners. Stefan has a PhD from the University of Hohenheim, Germany and over 25 years experience at WTS.