The Subtropical Fruit and Nuts is a leading export sector in Greater Tzaneen Municipality and accounts for a significant portion of the local economy. In Tzaneen, this sector has a well established commercial set-up which has existed for decades. The sector has the potential to reduce unemployment in the surrounding rural areas within the GTM boundaries. The industry statistics show that the number of producers of subtropical fruit and nuts (avocado, mango, macadamia and litchi) is estimated at 2,250 provincially (this mainly accounts for commercial producers), with an area planted of 35,000 hectares producing 237,000 tons annually. Financially, the annual value (FOB Cape Town and Local) is approximately R950 million with an employment estimate of about 13,100 jobs, this includes both the permanent and seasonal labourers. The emerging sector is comprised of farmers who have been settled through a land redistribution programme of Government (LRAD and Restitution). There are also producers on communal lands and subsistence producers on backyard gardens. The commercial and emerging sector is faced with challenges of increasing input costs and lack of resources. The emerging sector is primarily impeded by lack of access to finance, incompetence in business acumen, poor quality and low volumes which results in difficulties when it comes to compliance with market requirements. In view of all these challenges, the feasibility study and business plans outline guidelines on how to address some of the challenges.

Avocado Processing

The avocado is very popular in vegetarian cuisine, making an excellent substitute for meats in sandwiches and salads because of its high fat content. The fruit is not sweet, but fatty, strongly flavoured, and of smooth, almost creamy texture. It is used as the base for the Mexican dip known as guacamole, as well as a filling for several kinds of sushi. Avocado is popular in chicken dishes and as a spread on toast, served with salt and pepper. In Brazil and Vietnam, avocados are considered sweet fruits, so are frequently used for milk-shakes and occasionally added to ice cream and other desserts.

?In Vietnam, the Philippines, Jamaica and Indonesia, a dessert drink is made with sugar, milk, and pureed avocado. In Central America, avocados are served mixed with white rice. In Chile its consumption is widespread and used as a puree in chicken, hamburgers and hot dogs, and in slices for celery or lettuce salads.

Avocado Oil

Oil expressed from the flesh is rich in vitamins A, B, G and E. The oil is used in hair-dressing and is employed in making facial creams, hand lotions and fine soap. It is said to filter out the tanning rays of the sun, is non-allergenic and is similar to lanolin in its penetrating and skin softening action. In Brazil, 30% of the avocado crop is processed for oil, 2\3 of which is utilized in soap, 1/3 in cosmetics. The pulp residue after oil extraction is usable as stock feed.

Medicinal Uses

The fruit skin is antibiotic and is employed as a remedy for dysentery. The leaves are chewed as a remedy for pyorrhoea. Leaf poultices are applied on wounds. Heated leaves are applied on the forehead to relieve neuralgia. The leaf juice has antibiotic activity. The aqueous extract of the leaves has a prolonged hypertensive effect. The leaf decoction is taken as a remedy for diarrhoea, sore throat and haemorrhage; it allegedly stimulates and regulates menstruation. It is also drunk as a stomachic. In Cuba, a decoction of the new shoots is a cough remedy. Sometimes a piece of the seed is boiled with the leaves to make the decoction. The seed is cut in pieces, roasted and pulverized and given to overcome diarrhoea and dysentery. The powdered seed is believed to cure dandruff. A piece of the seed or a bit of the decoction, put into a tooth cavity may relieve toothache. An ointment made of the pulverized seed is rubbed on the face as a rubefacient?to redden the cheeks. An oil extracted from the seed has been applied on skin eruptions.

Other Uses

The seed yields a milky fluid with the odour and taste of almond. Because of its tannin content, it turns red on exposure, providing an indelible red-brown or blackish ink which was used to write many documents in the days of the Spanish Conquest. These are now preserved in the archives of Popayan. The ink has also been used to mark cotton and linen textiles. The wood has been utilized for construction, boards and turnery. An Australian woodworker has reported that it is suitable for carving, resembles White Beech (Eucalyptus kirtonii); is easy to work, and dresses and polishes beautifully. It probably requires careful seasoning. Honeybees gather a moderate amount of pollen from avocado flowers. The nectar is abundant when the weather is favourable.

Mango Industry Value Chain Analysis

Limpopo Province is the main mango producing province in South Africa with approximately 75% of the total production. Inclusive of all other producing provinces the mango industry contributes more than R190m per annum

Mango Processing

Processing is extremely important to the mango industry. Mangoes are primarily processed into canned mango, mango juice, concentrated mango drinks (e.g. mango fizzy drink), mango pulp, dehydrated/dried mangoes, mango jams, chutneys, atchar and mango-applied products (e.g. mango skin cream, mango detergent).

Primary Product

Selecting the ripeness of mangos can be determined by either smelling or squeezing. A ripe mango will have a full, fruity aroma emitting from the stem end. Mangos can be considered ready to eat when slightly soft to the touch and yielding to gentle pressure, like a rpe peach.

Medicinal Uses

Mango is one of the most recommended fruits to fight beriberi and to heal bronchial diseases since a mixture of mango pulp and honey can be made at home to fight bronchitis. Mango is an excellent depurative for the organism and it is recommended for nervous people, to fight insomnia, to heal brain fatigue, mental depression and as a laxative. Besides it is very helpful to fight heartburn. It has excellent results when used to eliminate kidney sand and to assist digestion. Mangoes beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties. Mangoes are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, as well as a good source of Potassium and contain beta-carotene. Mangoes are high in fibre, but low in. Mangoes are a good staple for your daily diet.


Mango kernel contains high amounts of fat and starch. The oil extracted from kernel is of good quality and could be used in cosmetic and soap industries. The kernel flour (starch) after mixing with wheat or maize flour is used in chapaties in India. About ten per cent alcohol could be obtained from mango kernel by co-culture fermentation.

Business Opportunities and Challenges

Processing industry (archer, a green pickled mango, mango puree for different mango juices and dried fruit) is developing at a rapid rate. The mango industry is currently facing the following challenges.
  • Overproduction
  • Diseases
  • Pests
  • Cultivars
  • Nutrition
  • Competitors
  • Margins

Banana Industry Bananas are amongst the most important commercial subtropical fruits grown in South Africa. In South Africa, bananas are planted for sale in local markets or self consumption and only a fraction of all bananas are sold in the world markets.

Business Opportunities And Challenges

Banana industry encompasses a large value chain, and business opportunities can be found in banana production, tissue culture, input supplies such as fertilizers, chemicals and irrigation equipment, carton manufacture, refrigeration, transport and marketing agents. The banana industry is currently facing the following challenges:
High capital costs of infrastructure. Bananas need to be ripened artificially in ripening rooms before marketing. At present, most of these facilities are concentrated in large urban areas and it is difficult for smaller/rural municipalities to create such facilities.
High cost of toll fees. Banana producers pay toll fees on most of their bulk inputs because transporters add it as a separate cost item on their invoices. The producer is also liable for the toll fees of the produce to the markets.

Macadamia Industry Analysis

Macadamia nuts productions are mainly concentrated in two provinces in South Africa, namely, Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces. The main producing areas in Limpopo are Levubu and Tzaneen

Litchi Industry Analysis

Litchi is the fifth largest sub-tropical crop in Limpopo after mango, avocados, macadamias and bananas. GTM is the major production area of Litchi in Limpopo Province.


Collective work must be a priority of the industry and government; it is in this context that a Working Group with a Project Manager is recommended to steer the development of the cluster with a clear vision of commercialization,
There is a need to establish a commercialization program which is implemented through a Secondary cooperative for the development of emerging farmers, this programme must be linked to a secondary cooperative which serves interests of various commodity based primary cooperatives. The incubator will be responsible for enterprise development, training of farmers, collaborated mentorship with Subtropical Grower?s Association, information dissemination, facilitation of export readiness programmes and management of cooperatives for collective bargaining purpose. This platform can also be used for the purpose of monitoring and evaluation. This can be funded through SEDA Technology Programme of SEDA.
Commodity based cooperatives must serve as contractors to ensure that fertigation programmes are implemented timeously, spray programmes are well done according to international standard, mechanisation programme is followed, there is market compliance, market contracts are in place and transport is well coordinated. Cessionary agreements are highly recommended and will function according to the dynamics of each commodity. Emerging farmers will be charged a fee for the service and also donor funds must be raised,
The Secondary Cooperative must have a function of financial services; it is recommended that the DTI incentive scheme and MAFISA be key components in this regard. This will address the financial concerns of farmers in terms of access, affordability and repayments.
A fair trade and marketing agency must be established for the purpose of entering export market and high returns,
An incentive scheme must be in place to reward good performers. A price competition for the Best Quality producer, Best Mentor, Best per Ha producer
This study acknowledges difficulties in dealing with backyard garden producers, however in the interest of rural development & humanitarian development interest; it is recommended that there should be a starter pack programme for this category of producers to ensure food security.


The Sub-tropical fruit and Nuts sector is a well established sector and has a win-win advantage due to growth potential and benefits. There is a need however to pay attention to the emerging producers and fully integrate them into the currently existing value chains. This study revealed a number of findings and recommendations have been clearly made.