Agriculture+Tzaneen = Westfalia | iinfo TZANEEN

Face it – most people in other towns in South Africa wish they lived in Tzaneen when driving through to a destination like the Kruger Park, Eiland or any of the many game lodges in the greater Tzaneen area. It is like a large tropical garden – evergreen, no matter if it is in the midst of drought. It is due to the high rainfall in the summer season. The ground is fertile and friendly to whatever is planted – locals jokingly say that one can plant a broom in the Tzaneen earth and it will probably grow. This is a backdrop to the tropical and subtropical agriculture that takes place over a 20,000 square kilometre region. Tzaneen is Limpopo's second largest town after Polokwane.
About 650 000 people live within a 30 km radius, of which around 30 000 live in town. In the centre of all these positive facts, is Westfalia – an extended farm synonymous with agriculture. Westfalia Fruit operates various avocado estates located on different continents. In South Africa, farms are situated in the Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provinces. Orchards are currently being established on Zembe Farm in Mozambique, while the Group also has several farming assets in Colombia in South America.​
Tzaneen produces about 40% of South Africa's avocados, 40% of South Africa's mangoes and 20% of South Africa's bananas. Tzaneen also produces 90% of South Africa's tomatoes through the ZZ2 and other farms, making South Africa the world's 40th largest tomato producer. Even though South Africa is ranked 40th in terms of tomato production, the ZZ2 farms themselves are the world's biggest producer of tomatoes. Tzaneen is also the biggest producer of pine plantations in the Limpopo Province, accounting for more than 85% of Limpopo's pine and bluegum production. Sadly, though, the majority of Tzaneen's precious tropical indigenous forest has been destroyed during the last 100-years to give way to pine, bluegum and other agricultural plantantions.
The economy of Tzaneen depends largely on farming fruits, vegetables, animals and timber. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of Tzaneen, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured its development.
A wide range of fruit are grown in the Tzaneen area, notably mangoes, bananas, oranges, tomatoes and avocados. Pine and eucalyptus plantations are also a common sight in the area around the town, particularly toward Modjadjiskloof, Magoebaskloof and Haenertsburg. The plantations serve a number of sawmills located in the area.
The geographical spread of operations provides Westfalia with the ability to stretch its production season over a longer period of time – an important factor in the supply of fruit for 12 months of the year. Growing fruit in different areas also minimises climatic risks. Both organic and conventional avocados are produced and sourced, together with conventional macadamia nuts.
Westfalia’s orchard-management approach is fully compliant with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), which ensures safe farming for the consumer, employees, community and the environment – making the town and country a beneficial and good neighbour!
The estate is situated on the foothills of the Drakensberg escarpment near Tzaneen. This farm was home to Dr Hans Merensky, arguably the most successful geologist in South African history. The estate is the centre of Westfalia’s South African agricultura​l operations. It has been declared a Natural Heritage Site and demonstrates the achievement of a balance between indigenous forest (natural vegetation), sustainable agriculture and forestry – the vision of the organisation’s founder Dr Hans Merensky.
In previous years, citrus was the main agricultural crop at Westfalia Estate. However, due to greening disease, citrus production was phased out, with the last trees removed in the early 1960s. Since then the avocado has been the predominant agricultural crop. Other subtropical crops cultivated on a smaller scale are litchis and macadamias.
A few feathers in Westfalia’s corporate cap over the past two years:
* 9 January 2016 - Sweet Chilli Salsa and Biltong-Flavoured Guacamole became the new additions to Westfalia’s family of ready-to-eat avocado guacamole.
* 26 April 2016 - The world’s top avocado-producing countries united to create the first global avocado entity, the World Avocado Organisation (WAO). Westfalia got a place on the board.
* 21 September 2017 – a month ago Westfalia Fruit introduced brand-new packaging for its Avocado Oil range, which can be found on-shelf in retailers countrywide. The range features a new, modern design, but the great taste of the four variants remains unchanged: plain, lemon, butter and garlic. Boasting a high smoke point, the oils are rich in healthy fats and make a great substitute in almost any recipe for baking, roasting, frying or sauteeing.
* 26 September 2017 - The gourmet GEM® avocado was introduced in the UK by multinational Westfalia Fruit to deliver even greater eating pleasure to avocado lovers on the other side of the globe.                                                                                   

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