The Mooketsi packhouse in Limpopo, South Africa, is set to be one of the largest post-harvest avocado handling facilities in the world when in full use.
The 11,200 meters squared facility will be used to pack avocados and tomatoes and is set to have the first avocados packed and shipped in February of next year, according to Letaba Herald.
Apart from packing for the ZZ2, the facility will also service the strategic partnership between ZZ2, Mission Produce and Core Fruit.
“The facility will help to unlock the potential for avocado growers in the province,” Ian van Brouwershaven was reported as saying.
Operations of the facility will be phased in as production in Limpopo expands. Phase 1 has created a 30 metric ton (MT) per hour avocado packing ability which will be expanded to 60MT/hour in the foreseeable future.
Eventually, the packhouse will be able to handle 70,000MT per year.
It unlocks the potential to expand avocado plantings to 3,500 hectares which in turn will create 5,000 jobs.
Ian van Brouwershaven told the news source that ZZ2’s avocado expansion program extends from the 1980s. “This new packhouse 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 40,000MT, contributing to the facility’s cost-effectiveness.”
The pack house’s design contributes to sustainable use and re-use of resources such as harvesting of rainwater and collecting condensation from the refrigeration chambers to be recirculated into the cooling system.
The floor plan design also allows for minimum movement and handling of people and produce to ensure that logistic costs are curbed.
Equipment features scanning technology that automatically sorts produce according to class, size and color.