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Agri Careers: Meet a food processing supervisor

For food processing supervisor Peter McDonald (37) it is an honour to be part of the farm to fork process

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The 37-year-old Peter McDonald is a hero to the food industry because he safeguards the quality of goods manufactured at Euroberry, a leading supplier of frozen fruit, purees and concentrates in South Africa.

McDonald’s job as a processing supervisor also includes seeing that all staff at Euroberry follow safe food handling practices and that Euroberry meets their customer’s specifications and requirements.

McDonald details what a day in his life looks like and what exactly it takes to be a food processing and manufacturing hero.

1Sum up your job:
My job entails the daily management of a production team. I need to ensure that the company’s guidelines, policies, target dates and KPI’s (key performance areas) are adhered to and met. I plan and execute daily and weekly production to ensure targets are met and report production yields to senior management.

2So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail?
I draft work orders for the day`s production. I need to ensure that the production team has all the resources they need to get the job done. It is my responsibility to keep my team motivated and encouraged to meet our targets and maintain our high quality standards. I also liaise with other departments to ensure we don’t waste time – time is money. Then there’s also production-related admin that I need to complete.

3

What qualification do you need for this career?
A matric qualification and a formal qualification in the field of production planning or management.

4What are the character traits you need to be great at your job?
You need to apply a firm but fair approach. You need excellent interpersonal skills and must be adaptable and flexible to changing circumstances. You must be able to recognise potential.

Peter McDonald believes that the entire value-chain is important and feels proud to be part of a process that makes a difference people’s lives. Photo: Euroberry.
Peter McDonald believes that the entire value-chain is important and feels proud to be part of a process that makes a difference in people’s lives. Photo: Euroberry

5Have you always worked in the agriculture sector?
No, I was working for UTC Fire & Security in the manufacturing sector as a production supervisor for three years.

6What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in?
It provides employment for a diverse group of individuals ranging from the farm where the products are grown to the manufacturing facilities where these products are processed. This entire process is extremely important as we are dealing with a farm to fork process. It makes me feel proud as an individual knowing that I am part of a process which makes a difference in many people’s lives.

7Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments?
Being part of a team that increased its production output by 40% on the previous season. Being able to help my staff members achieve career goals.

8What do you do when you’re not at work?
I love spending time with my family – my wife and daughter. We enjoy watching movies as a family. I enjoy watching soccer, rugby and cricket.

9Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story?
Never give up on reaching your goals. Always give 100% in whatever you do. Always strive to be the best possible version of yourself. Be open to change.

Duncan Masiwa
Duncan Masiwa
DUNCAN MASIWA is a budding journalist with a passion for telling great agricultural stories. He hails from Macassar, close to Somerset West in the Western Cape, where he first started writing for the Helderberg Gazette community newspaper. Besides making a name for himself as a columnist, he is also an avid poet who has shared stages with artists like Mahalia Buchanan, Charisma Hanekam, Jesse Jordan and Motlatsi Mofatse.
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