In 2016 apple grower, Hendrik Pohl from ZZ2, joined the Orchard of the Future project with his Bokveldskloof orchard block. The goals for Pohl’s orchard are ambitious and seek to demonstrate the interplay between rootstock and planting density in terms of cost and meeting production goals. HORTGRO Science spoke to Hendrik about his background and his views on fruit production.
HS: Please share a bit about your personal background…
I am 39 years old and was born in Somerset West. I grew up on a fruit and vegetable family farm in the Koue Bokkeveld. I matriculated at Charlie Hofmeyr High in Ceres and completed my Diploma in Pomology, Viticulture and Vegetable production at Elsenburg Agricultural College in 1997. I worked on the family farm for about two years and made a short detour in the Agro-chemical industry, but returned to fruit production at ZZ2 in 2003 until present.
HS: How did you get into the farming business and what influenced you?
Farming has always been part of our family. I also like the dynamic of being involved in a long term crop.
HS: Do you have any notable mentors at present or in the past that have shaped your views on farming and life in general?
Oh yes. My dad and brother, both named Harry Pohl, helped to shape my life and views on fruit farming. Always putting ideas and principles out there [for me to think about] and to do. ZZ2 gave me the opportunity to put it into practise.
HS: What is your personal philosophy when it comes to fruit farming?
My philosophy is to set clear goals and to work systematically towards it. I also believe balance is a key factor to success.
HS: From where do you derive your motivation to excel in the fruit industry?
I love it when a plan comes together. Often we need to work a few years to see the fruit of our labour and the industry is constantly changing.
HS: Why did you decide to get involved with Orchard of the Future? What do you hope to get out of your involvement?
Orchard of the Future put the challenge out there. We took a different approach to achieve the goal. Together with everybody involved we will get some answers quicker and make progress more sustainable for the future of our industry.
HS: What contribution would you like to make to the fruit industry in the long term?
Sustainability and value for all involved.