Dube AgriZone is Africa’s first integrated perishables supply chain and the most technologically advanced future farming platform on the continent.
This high-tech agricultural development, which forms part of the Dube TradePort Special Economic Zone (SEZ), is host to the largest climate-controlled glass-covered growing area in Africa. It aims to stimulate the growth of KwaZulu-Natal's perishables sector and affords the opportunity to achieve improved agricultural yields, consistent quality, year-round production and the superior management of disease and pests.
The facility's primary focus is on the production of short shelf-life vegetables and other horticultural products which require immediate post-harvest airlifting and supply to both domestic and export markets.
The present phase one development comprises an extensive 16 hectares of greenhouses, dedicated post-harvest packhouses, a central packing and distribution centre, a nursery and a sophisticated plant tissue culture laboratory, Dube AgriLab.
Dube AgriZone is an eco-friendly facility, adopting a range of 'green' initiatives to offset its environmental impact. Initiatives include:
Solar energy usage;
On-site waste management; and
The growth of indigenous plants for precinct-wide rehabilitation efforts.
The canteen facility located within the AgriZone precinct, as well as the nearby airport terminal, address lunchtime amenities for staff operating with the precinct.
The 90-hectare phase two of Dube AgriZone is also set for development, although initially only one third of this area will be utilised.
Criteria applying to operations in phase two call for the local economic development of surrounding small-scale farmers, a need for an export focus and a focus on employment creation.
Also planned for the second phase are production facilities which may comprise plastic greenhouses and tunnels which are not as high-tech as those already in use. Distribution and packaging facilities will also form part of the secondary development.
From a 'green' perspective, Dube AgriZone phase two could include a waste-to-energy operation, such as an anaerobic digester for the effective composting of green waste.
Dube AgriZone provides growers with the potential to achieve improved agricultural yields, consistency of produce quality, close management of disease and pest infestation and year-round crop production. All this leads to improved sustainability and enhanced agricultural competitiveness. Critically, the AgriZone's close proximity to Dube Cargo Terminal gives effect to a seamless cold chain, providing consumers fresh produce from farm to fork.