Tzaneen is situated in a fertile region in the north eastern part of Limpopo Province, with tropical and subtropical agriculture taking place in a 20,000 km² region. A wide range of tropical fruits and vegetables are produced, notably citrus, mangoes, bananas, avocados, litchis, tomatoes, macadamia nuts, blueberries coffee, tea and timber are commonly cultivated.
The economy of Tzaneen and surrounding areas depends largely on the agribusiness of these different types of fruits, vegetables, livestock, and timber. Agriculture was the key factor in the development of Tzaneen, whereby farming of domesticated and game species created food surpluses that nurtured its development.
The Tzaneen area produces approximately 40% of South Africa's avocados, 40% mangoes 20% bananas and 80% of South Africa’s tomatoes.
The production of tomatoes area mainly done by the ZZ2 Farms which are known to be the biggest single producer of tomatoes in the world.
Tzaneen also boasts the largest production of pine plantations in the Limpopo Province, accounting for more than 85% of Limpopo's pine and blue gum production. The majority of Tzaneen's tropical indigenous forest have been destroyed during the last 100-years to give way to pine, blue gum, and other agricultural plantations.
Citrus is a well-established agricultural commodity for South Africa and has experienced steady export growth over the past 5 decades, growing from 10 million 15 KG equivalent cartons in 1965 to 117 million 15 KG equivalent cartons in 2015.
Limpopo yields more than a third of the country's production, and the largest production area is situated in the Letsitele Valley where semi-tropical conditions are ideal for the cultivation of this crop.
The well-known Farm ZZ2 is currently the largest tomato producer in the Southern Hemisphere, producing a mere 190 000 tons of tomatoes annually. Optimised packaging focuses on customer’s needs, the company provides a 12-month production cycle and can offer a longer shelf life of their products.
The Tzaneen area produces over 40 per cent of the country's avocados.
With the largest avocado-growing footprint in the world, Westfalia Fruit is recognised as the #avoexperts, not only growing its own fruit but also sourcing, ripening, packing, processing, and marketing quality avocados year-round. Following recent acquisitions, the multinational Group now markets a more comprehensive range of quality fruit from across the globe, making full use of its vertically integrated supply chain to meet and exceed customers’ expectations.
The company also produces avocado purée and avocado oil (50% of the worldwide demand for avocado oil). At the Westfalia nursery, over 100 000 avocado trees are produced annually for its own estates and for outside growers.
Peppadew is the brand name of a range of pickles and sauces made from a variety of sweet-tasting peppers (Capsicum baccatum) processed and bottled using a secret recipe. The world’s leading pickler of a unique red capsicum, Peppadew International, situated in Nkowankowa, part of the Greater Tzaneen Municipal area, exports to 26 countries around the world.
Macadamia nuts bought, sold, and consumed in the world markets today are mainly a mixture of almost 10 of these Hawaiian varieties, whether produced in Australia, South Africa, or Hawaii.
In 2018, South Africa was estimated to remain the world's leading producer of macadamia nuts with 54,000 tonnes out of global production of 211,000 tonnes. In 2015, South Africa produced 48,000 tonnes (53,000 short tons) compared to Australia's 40,000 tonnes and the total global production of 160,000 tonnes (180,000 short tons).
Tzaneen is also a major producer of mangoes for export and local markets, as well as for dried mango products, juicing and achar.
Mangoes are grown over a wide area in South Africa. However, the main production areas are in the Northern Province with the Letsitele valley/Tzaneen, Hoedspruit/Phalaborwa, Letsitele/Lower Letaba and the Trichardsdal/Ofcolaco areas accounting for 60 % of total production.
Are amongst the most important commercial subtropical fruits grown in South Africa. On average the gross annual value of production for bananas has been R1.2 billion. Letaba produces nearly 10 per cent of this total.
Du Roi Laboratory in Letsitele produces over six million tissue-culture banana plants annually for sale to the Southern African market as well as to other African countries, Middle East and South and Central America.
Exciting new cultivars produced in the Tzaneen area include the well-known Clemengold nectarines and the versatile Dragon fruit.
- Largest producer of Pine and Blue gum trees in South Africa
- 90 million cartons of citrus exported in past 5 seasons
- 190 000 tons of tomatoes produced annually by ZZ2 only
- Produces 40% of all avocadoes in SA
- Home of world's leading pickler - Peppadew
- Known for exporting, drying, juicing and the making of achar from mangoes
- 10% of all bananas in South Africa are grown in the Tzaneen area
- 6 Million tissue culture for banana trees are produced by Du Roi Nursery
- Tzaneen is home of uniquely bred and cultivated, Clemengold nectarines, Dragon fruit, Maluma Avocado’s, and PinZ2yl cattle breed