Ferrero Group’s special advisor Zola Skweyiya says Africa’s first ever hazelnut factory has the potential to create large-scale jobs and boost local exports. Currently, the luxury confectionary group employs about 500 people at its Gauteng operations.
The family-owned company, whose turnover exceeded €7.2-billion in the 2010-11 financial year, opened its 9000m² production facility in Walkerville, Gauteng, in June 2009.
“In KwaZulu-Natal,” Skweyiya says, “the plant will be bigger but the [hazelnut] trees are still growing.
“If it is found that they are thriving in that area, they will plant more hazelnuts and we will be able to use those hazelnuts to export them to other parts of Africa,” he said. Skweyiya was speaking at the South Africa-Italy economic summit organised by The European House-Ambrosetti, an international policy and commerce think tank. Skweyiya said construction on the plant in KwaZulu-Natal commenced about five years ago.