Mango mania in South Africa

Bavaria Fruit Estate in South Africa’s Limpopo Province aims to provide mango enthusiasts the world over with high-quality mangoes for the longest possible periods of the year.

A 50/50 partnership between South Africa’s largest mango grower and one of the world’s leading cultivar development and commercialisation companies, is making inroads in the global mango marketplace. 

Currently two promising cultivars from Australia are being tested for suitability at Bavaria Fruit Estate.

Bavaria Fruit Estate is home to one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest mango operations and part of its success can be found in the joint venture between ANB Investments and Pieter Scholtz (Blydevallei Sitrus) in Bavaria Fruit Estate. 

Abs van Rooyen, ANB Investments CEO says, “Our joint venture brings together Pieter’s resources and expertise, with the experience from our various subsidiaries such as Citrogold and Biogold, which specialise in the management of intellectual property development and the commercialisation of new products, as well as Indigo Fruit Farming which owns and manages citrus orchards in diverse locations.” 

Incremental growth

Since the inception of Bavaria Fruit Estate by German industrialist H.H. Thiele in 1990, expansion has been impressive and different noteworthy partnerships have guided the direction of growth.

To complement the mango plantings that took place between 1991 and 1995 various citrus plantings of Delta Valancia, Star Ruby Grapefruit and Turkey Valencias were made from 1998 to 2011, with trees supplied by Du Roi Nursery (a subsidiary of ANB Investments). 

Bavaria Packers was formed in 1996, with the building of a state of the art mango pack-house and drying plant which have the capacity to process 6000 tons of fresh fruit and 500 tons of dried mango per season respectively.

“The aim of the development of Bavaria Fruit Estate in the beginning was to supply sought after mangoes to the European markets,”
says Johann du Preez, Bavaria’s general manager. 

“Therefore, plantings were initially focused on an early-season variety (Tommy Atkins), a mid-season variety (Kent) and a late-season variety (Keitt), which make up 80% of plantings. Two other varieties, Heidi (a locally developed variety) and Sensation (a small-fruited, very high bearing variety) were also planted for local market sales.”

“Since all of these varieties had their own peculiarities and production challenges, we have always kept in touch with plant breeders worldwide and locally. We also started with a small selection programme of our own.”

Through a cooperation agreement with Westfalia the testing and evaluation of some imported mango cultivars under licence has been implemented, in addition to a large number of open (without breeders’ rights) mango cultivars from all over the world.

Currently, Bavaria has 84 cultivars and selections in their gene pool block, as well as a further 35 new and promising selections in a small experimental planting.

Pieter Scholtz has also been able to acquire a newly registered cultivar called Rosa which has a specific niche in the local market. Bavaria has its own accredited nursery enabling it to propagate both locally and imported genetic material.

Through its range of cultivars and marketing efforts to big supermarket outlets and mango receivers in European, Eastern and Middle Eastern markets, as well as through its ability to add value to its products via its drying plant (Baobab Value Adding), Bavaria has laid a solid and fruitful foundation for its mango operations in South Africa.

For more information:

Charlene Nieuwoudt
ANB Investments
Tel: +27 (0) 21 880 7033
Mob: +27 (0) 83 666 1480

Publication date: 4/25/2016