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Julio Pachon

Weeks 2 and 3

In the second week, the group continued to tour the different enterprises and obtain a complete picture from production of avocados, tomatoes, and onions to selling it. We went through the packaging, transportation, and marketing. ZZ2 produces 40% of the tomatoes in SA and its impressive production is due to a vertical integration. SA does not have farm subsidies which makes it a hard environment for the production of crops in a world filled with subsidies.
This third week has been the busiest. I have had interviews with six people surrounding the production of tomatoes of ZZ2. The nature of the interviews was to determine the level of adoption of Natuurboerdery practices on the farm and how those changes came to be.
Natuurboerdery Center's compost site
In the end I will prepare a presentation for ZZ2 that includes the history, the channels of communication, and observations I did during the project time.
IMG_0406Sickle bush
There has also being leisure time to enjoy this beautiful country. We visited a baobab said to be over 1000 years old and we moved to a game lodge where we see giraffes, zebras, buffalo, kudu, and other animals. I really recent not having a better camera with all the magnificent birds you can find here. Game lodge giraffes
Time is passing by fast and due to the weather stress of this year our internship had to be cut to four weeks.
Avocado production

Week 1

During the first week of the internship, the Cornell group went around the different divisions of ZZ2 and were able to appreciate the size of the operation. This week was very busy!
The cattle division, shown to us by Albert Noffke, holds an impressive amount of breeding bulls and cows that include pinzgauer, santa gertrudis, Nguni, and their own breed: pinzyl. I have also had the pleasure to see and talk about their onion, avocado and tomato production. ZZ2 is known for their tomato production and are the largest tomato growers in Africa. The visited pack houses, greenhouses, and will go to netting houses later. We have also been allowed in their everyday meetings.
With this information, we are to revise our projects and amend them since we now have a higher grasp of the company. Next week we will start our projects.
My project in particular deals with the history of transition from chemical agriculture to an integrated farming approach of chemical and natural farming coined Natuurboerdery.

First day South Africa

Simon's TownHello my name is Julio Pachon, I am a sophomore in Agsci and Plant Sci. I have an internship with ZZ2 which is a large tomato grower with headquarters in Limpopo, South Africa. Dr. Janice Thies, Masters student Christian Pulver, and two other undergraduate students (Jacob Benedict and Peter Narby) are also part of this internship with different roles.
Although I am trying to be flexible to as what I expect to be the outcome of my work here, my internship is divided in two; biochar research alongside Dr. Thies and Christian Pulver, and analyzing outreach project from the grassroots.

Port Elizabeth

Since this is my first day, we are currently getting to know the area and the people with which we will be working with. I am more concerned with writing on things I have learned on an internship abroad. Because of reasons out of my control Jacob and I ended up arriving two weeks prior to the start of our internship, and we decided to go backpacking in South Africa. This has been a great decision that has lead us to meet many people, see many places, and experience many things.
On our first day Jacob and I took a 31 hour train ride from Johannesburg to Cape Town. The changing landscape of this enormous country and the conversation with other travelers made this long trip enjoyable and very amusing. At Cape Town we did cage diving with Great White Sharks and we went to a site nearby, Simon’s Town, to see penguins. Because of our short time, we had limited areas to visit and next visited Storm’s River where we jumped off the highest bungee bridge. Then we stayed in Port Elizabeth where things got calmer, then to Coffee Bay where we surfed and hiked. Finally, returned to Johannesburg via Durban to meet the rest of the group and travel to our internship location.

Bungee near Storm's River

These incomplete and rough descriptions of the successions that have happened to this point are unequivocally an inadequate way to portray all the positive and educational things I have experienced. I write this first post with the intention of proposing to all those who go abroad to do an internship to spend some time traveling and backpacking around the country.

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