ZZ2’S fans and de­trac­tors

The Africa Report - - AGRIBUSINE­SS DOSSIER -

Known for its brightly coloured pack­ag­ing, ZZ2 is a multi-mil­lion-rand con­glom­er­ate op­er­at­ing in Lim­popo, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gaut­eng, North-west Province, Mpumalanga and the nearby coun­try of Namibia. One of the com­pany’s biggest fans is none other than South Africa’s fi­nance min­is­ter Tito Mboweni, who mentioned how im­pressed he is by ZZ2 and its farm­ing in­no­va­tions. The com­pany, owned by the Van Zyl fam­ily of Lim­popo Province, pro­duces 40% of the to­ma­toes and one-third of the onions con­sumed in South Africa from its 80,000ha of hold­ings.

ZZ2 has not es­caped South Africa’s land re­form de­bate. Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF) leader Julius Malema said in May: “Here in Lim­popo we are sup­posed to be pro­duc­ing tomato sauce at the back­rooms of our yards be­cause we are blessed with a fer­tile land. ZZ2 takes the to­ma­toes pro­duced here to other places where jobs are cre­ated and then re­turns them to us at high prices.”

Dur­ing the tabling of his first medium-term bud­get pol­icy state­ment in par­lia­ment last year, Mboweni told jour­nal­ists: “Closer part­ner­ships have to be forged be­tween the state and com­mer­cial farm­ers that could lend their ex­per­tise to help new farm­ers suc­ceed.” Mboweni told lo­cal me­dia: “Don’t chase [com­mer­cial farm­ers] away. If you have state land, get them to help you de­velop it.” He added that ZZ2 was an ex­am­ple of a “com­mer­cial farm­ing en­ter­prise that has ex­celled”.

But the farm is not well liked by the lo­cal com­mu­nity in Lim­popo any more than by the red berets. Last year, lo­cals ac­cused the com­pany of de­stroy­ing more than 80 graves to make way for an av­o­cado farm.

ZZ2 work­ers smile for so­cial me­dia

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