It may not be completely organic, but a philosophy based on “harmony with nature” has worked wonders for soil health, productivity and the surrounding environment for South Africa’s largest tomato grower, ZZ2.
The company’s ‘Natuurboerdery’ (Nature Farming) practices range from composting, plant extract application and using predatory insects all the way through to more standard measures like the choice of rootstocks, growing regions, planting times and varieties.
At Fresh Fruit Portal we had the opportunity to see (and smell) some of these processes at ZZ2’s Mooketsi facility in the northern South African province of Limpopo, in the lead-up to Allesbeste Nursery’s ‘Maluma Day’ last month.
A significant foundation for ZZ2’s soil practices is compost, and the grower has a lot of it – 50,000 cubic meters per year in fact.
To service its production operations around South Africa and Namibia – also including avocados, pome fruit, stonefruit, mangoes and onions – the group generates its own compost over 28 hectares of land on three sites, serviced by 15 hectares of storage space for the raw materials needed for the process.
“The four main ingredients we use on this compost are sawdust, woodchips, chicken manure and cattle manure, and then according to the season any other organic material that is available at that stage – for example in the citrus season we use a lot of citrus pulp from the juice factories.
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