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Avocado farming leaves a positive mark on the environment and local communities

With more than 500 hectares of land and 300 employees, Three Farms, a farming company nestled in the indigenous lands of northeast South Africa, produces around 3,500 tonnes of avocados a year, with almost half of this sold for domestic consumption and the rest exported to either the UK or Europe

One of the values that Three Farms prioritises the most is sustainability, and they believe this begins at the root level. Soil fertility is essential for sustainable and quality avocado production, and Three Farms achieves this by using top-grade fertilisers and techniques such as intercropping, in which other crops are grown alongside the avocados. Bio-pesticides are also used on farms, which are safe for the environment, wildlife and humans and leave no lasting residue as they break down under sunlight.

As rainfall is fairly high in the region, irrigation is often only required during critical periods. Nevertheless, Three Farms is strongly dedicated to cutting down water usage as much as possible, with drip irrigation systems that can reduce water usage by up to 20-30%. On top of this, sophisticated measuring devices and digital technologies are used to ensure only the necessary amount of water is applied, stopping any potential water wastage. Three Farms also prides itself on its commitment to biodiversity and wildlife conservation. The indigenous bush is protected and supervised as it is the habitat of hundreds of species of mammals, reptiles, birds, insects and native plants.

Three Farms works hard to ensure its workers' needs are met and their best interests are looked after. Every year, the workers have the chance to take part in learnership programmes that help them improve their agricultural skills. Workers earn competitive salaries and receive paid holidays and even have access to daycare services and free meals for their young children.

They also give back to the local community by providing basic agriculture lessons to adults seeking education and donating money, sports equipment and other materials to nearby schools. Moreover, Three Farms employs several students from young graduate programmes each year, offering practical experience and coaching in the farming business to the future generations of the agriculture sector.