In Limpopo, the Mooketsi Pack house is being built, that will be one of the largest post-harvest avocado handling facilities in the world when in full use. It will be an 11,200 m2 facility that will be used to pack avocados and tomatoes. According to Ian van Brouwershaven, ZZ2 engineer and project manager, the first avocados to be packed and shipped from this state-of-the-art facility will be in February next year.
Apart from packing for ZZ2 the facility will also service the strategic partnership between ZZ2, Mission Produce (one of the world’s most advance avocado networks), and Core Fruit (a fresh produce export company), to provide access to world-class packing facilities and new markets for other avocado producers in Limpopo.
“The facility will help to unlock the potential for avocado growers in the province,” van Brouwershaven said. Operation of the facility will be phased in as production in Limpopo expands. Phase 1 has created a 30 tons/hour avocado packing ability which will be expanded to 60 tons/hour in the foreseeable future. Eventually, the pack house will be able to handle 70,000 tons per year.
“It unlocks the potential to expand avocado plantings to 3,500 hectares which in turn will create 5,000 jobs. Letabaherald.co.za quoted van Brouwershaven as saying that ZZ2’s avocado expansion programme extends from the 1980s: “This new pack house will support future development for the next decade, up until 2030. Since ZZ2 is also the biggest tomato producer in the country, the pack line has been designed to accommodate tomatoes during the off season. It will be able to do up to 40,000 tons, contributing to the facility’s cost-effectiveness.”