Jaco Fivaz is the farm manager of Mohlatsi farm in Limpopo. He is a pioneer of high-density mango orchards, which achieve a greater yield per hectare than conventional orchards. Fivaz has a wealth of experience in mango production and has been the farm manager on Mohlatsi farm near Hoedspruit in Limpopo for the past 17 years.
The farm produces a wide variety of mango cultivars, such as Tommy Atkins, Keitt and Sensation, and also has a packhouse, a drying unit, and an achar production facility. The packhouse is used only for about four months of the year, during the harvest season, while the drying unit, which can dry a variety of products, runs throughout the year.
Fivaz believes that the key to growing good-quality mangoes is to plant the trees in sandy and rocky soils. “I don’t believe in stressing the trees and it’s easier to apply nitrogen in sandy soils rather than heavy soils,” he told farmersweekly.co.za.
Mohlatsi farm covers 350ha, and 150ha of these are under production. When Fivaz arrived here in 2004, only 45ha were planted to mangoes, but the area under production has been expanding ever since.
The average yield on the farm across all cultivars is between 20t/ha and 22t/ha, but Fivaz has managed to achieve 85t/ha with the Keitt cultivar. The average break-even yield is fairly high at 18t/ha and the production cost can be between R80 000/ha and R90 000/ha for intensive operations.
“I’m convinced that we haven’t yet reached the ceiling for maximum yield for mangoes. There’s room for growth; it’s possible to achieve 100t/ha.”