This is a summarized version of a report which was compiled and submitted to Government during the recent meetings which was held in Tzaneen to discuss the matter on Land Expropriation without Compensation, by the attorney firm, Thomas & Swanepoel Inc. in Tzaneen, on behalf of various commercial farmers and stakeholders in the Mopani District.
The avocado industry in Mopani is a highly complex industry with various businesses whose livelihood depends directly and indirectly there on.
Direct beneficiaries would include specialized IT firms, laboratories, nurseries, export agents, logistical managers, fertilizer and chemical experts, insect science developers and many more. Indirect beneficiaries could be any other of the 7000 listed business in the Mopani District area (according to the IINFO website – www.iinfo.co.za) which could potentially be supported by employees and other involved parties of the avocado industry.
Currently 7000 hectares of avocados are being farmed in the Mopani region.
Direct job creation for the avocado industry is at least 21 000 permanently employed workers, which doubles up during packing season to 42 000 workers.
It is estimated that each worker sustains at least 4 dependents with his or her monthly income, which means that at least 84 000 people are directly dependent on the avocado industry out of season and 168 000 people in season.
Economic value for the area
The estimated revenue generated for the Mopani area from the avocado farms are at least R2,6 billion per annum.
Estimates is done on the basis that a hectare commercial farmed avocado delivers approximately 2300 cartons which can be exported at approximately R160 per carton.
According to national avocado figures the South-African figures is currently at least R 7 billion per annum of which 37.5% is produced in the Mopani Region.
Currently at least 60% of all avocados are exported, 25% are sold to the local market and 15% are used in processing.
Value adding has also become a huge factor in the avocado industry over the years, as the versatility of this product has proved to provide the opportunity to use the product in many more exciting ways.
Fruit which are not necessarily fit for the export market, could be used for other options, namely:
The consumption of avocado oils is highly recommended by the health industry. Avocado oil is naturally cholesterol free and contains monounsaturated fatty acids. It is a source of omega-3 fatty acids and it contains healthy, plant-based unsaturated oil components that provide an efficient source of energy.
For the beauty industry, Avocado oil has nourishing, hydrating and regenerating properties, and is therefore suited for use in cosmetic products formulated for damaged, mature, dry and/or sensitive skins. The unsaponifiable components in avocado oil aid toning, softening and restructuring of the epidermis. Ideal for use in massage lotions, avocado oil can also be used in products caring for the delicate skin around the eyes.
Then for the food industry, Avocado oil is suitable for any cooking purpose, including baking, drizzling, dipping, roasting and frying. The high smoke-point of the oil means that it remains stable when placed under high heat (anywhere up to 250 degrees Celsius).
Guacamole is most commonly known as an accompaniment to Mexican dishes such as nachos and tortillas. Its uses are extremely versatile, and with a bit of imagination and creativity, avocado can be served hot and cold.
The avocado market is highly complex, and trust relationships has carefully been built up between producers, exporters and the consumers over decades in this competitive environment.
The challenge has been developed to such and extend that the growth of the market are very much dependent on the ready and ripe programs and supply of avocados consistently for throughout the year. With careful planning, thorough knowledge of the environment and various cultivars, the demand of the market and the limitations of the producers this intricate industry have the potential to grow from strength to strength.
There are still plenty of land available in the Mopani District area which can be developed for Avocado farming. Just the black owned Magoba Trust and the Mamathola CPA has prime property for avocados in extant more than 12 000 hectares and combined with the SAPEKOE tea plantations claimed by Magoba Trust the industry can be more than doubled, without any further expropriation and or land claims.