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.
In an interview with SAnews, Skweyiya, who is also a former Minister and High Commissioner to the UK, said once Ferrero’s chocolate factory in KwaZulu-Natal starts producing hazelnuts, it will leave a sweet taste on everybody’s lips. Currently, the chocolate making group employs about 500 people at its Gauteng operations.
“In KwaZulu-Natal, 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 said this when he attended an economic summit organised by The European House-Ambrosetti (TEH-A), an international think tank made up of captains of industry from political leaders, private sector CEOs to academics. TEH-A is rated alongside institutions like the World Economic Forum in terms of its stature.
Skweyiya was recently appointed by President Jacob Zuma as one of the two special envoys to represent South Africa in peace talks in the Middle East amid tense conflicts in the Gaza strip in Palestine. The former Minister said the construction of the plant in KZN commenced about five years ago.
“There are no hazelnuts in Africa. It is the first time they are being planted on the African continent. So it creates a new adventure for production in Southern Africa and it creates more [local jobs].”