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Left Side Truck Drivin’

So the past few days have been amazing. Yesterday I learned all about ZZ2 from Burtie, the son of the CEO and he also studied at Cornell these past 2 years, and let me tell you this is nothing like farmin’ in the US. ZZ2 owns and does everything from planting to growing to packing to shipping! Total, all over South Africa they have about 4,500 hectares of avocados, tomatoes (mainly), onions, apples, pears etc. They also have 60,000 hectares of conservation land! And the conservation practices on the farm are amazing as well. They mix several different types of compost, which they apply to all their farms along with EM or Effective Microbes. They now have no need to apply any pre planting fertilizer! And they have reduced post planting chemical inputs by 30-70% depending on the crop. They also have come up with several plant based anti-pest concoctions that have no chemicals and is made up mainly of certain plants and EM. Some of the anti-pest concoctions come from the Neem tree originally from India of which they have planted a hectare here in order to make the mixes. It was really breath taking to learn everything. And, also how dedicated they are to what they do and protecting the environment. Total they have 8000 workers all over the country and they are mainly from the local areas and Zimbabwe. ZZ2 provides housing, primary schools and nurseries for all of them!
Today, I was taken to town for a bit then met Piet Prinsloo, a project manager, at the main ZZ2 center. He set me up with a USB internet connector which is nice so I have internet in my hut now and a truck….which was an experience. Here they drive on the left hand side with the steering wheel on the other side, stick shift and mainly on dirt roads between farms. So, when it was time to go to their mechanic shop to get my truck Piet handed me the keys and said “let’s see what you can do”..and that is how I learned to drive here. Luckily, I didn’t hit anything and I caught on quickly. By the end of the day I could drive the 20km from the center to my hut and also to the other natuurboerdery center! Tomorrow I am driving further to the soil testing lab at the University of Limpopo (the province I am in). And, next week I am meeting with officials from the Department of Agriculture and University of Limpopo and other people in ZZ2. Basically we have solidified my project to basically designing, with Bombiti and others, a strategic plan for an extension program at ZZ2. It is going to be a lot of work but it should be really cool. At the end I will be presenting it to management and some other representatives. But, there is a lot to be done between now and then!
Anyways, I’m off to make dinner but I promise I will work on uploading some pictures soon. The area here is in a beautiful valley surrounded by forested mountains, it is really spectacular. And, I am starting to feel part of the family here! More updates soon!


  1. Montsa Hofnel says:

    Hey Marlene…!
    I’m Hofnel, working at ZZ2 Natuurboerdery as Student Worker, i’m studing towards Diploma (Agricultural Development & Extension). My duties is to help developing farms around Mooketsi valley working with Bombiti and Bertus. Currently i’m helping Steven Mohale at Mmamokgadi vallege to produce good quality of tomatoes. We wish you good lucky on whatever you do here. I saw you first time at Natuurboerdery centre driving a yellow zz2 bakkie, don’t worry this is South Africa we drive at lift handside & we pass right handside.

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