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UFS, ZZ2 company NovaLogix to develop, make fresh produce probiotic

22nd January 2024

By: Schalk Burger

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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The University of the Free State (UFS) and fresh produce company ZZ2 have launched joint venture company NovaLogix to develop and produce a probiotic used in the production of fresh produce to enhance plant health and growth.

NovaLogix will focus on improved production techniques, product registration, commercialisation, and improved recipes, the partners said.

The launch marks the culmination of a five-year journey that began in 2019 when faculty members engaged with ZZ2 to initiate closer collaboration and cooperation, said UFS Vice Chancellor and Principal Professor Francis Petersen.

“ZZ2 is a knowledge partner, and co-creation is a key component in this collaboration. Working together on a challenge makes the solution more sustainable. I believe that innovation and this co-creation approach will generate outcomes that transform the agricultural sector and impart knowledge to the next generation,” he said.

In September 2022, the university entered into a collaboration agreement with ZZ2. The partnership between the two entities included the establishment of FreeFarm Innovation, which is a company that has a holding in NovaLogix and is designed to leverage the strengths, capabilities, skills and resources of both parties.

Part of the operations of FreeFarm Innovation included opportunities for research, commercialisation and the enhancement of agricultural products. This has come into effect in projects on, for example, business operations, agricultural sustainability, and innovative approaches to growing fruit and vegetables, among others, Petersen said.

“The relationship with ZZ2 is ideally suited to assist the university in realising the core values of Vision 130, the university’s strategic intent to reposition the institution as one of the leading universities in South Africa by 2034.

“The knowledge, experience and expertise that ZZ2 brings to the partnership complement the exciting and impactful research conducted by the university’s academics across a range of disciplines. I am looking forward to a partnership that will grow from strength to strength,” he said.

ZZ2 would like to continue building a future with the university based on a symbiotic relationship, said ZZ2 Group CEO Dr Tommie van Zyl.

“We want to ensure that our strengths as an organisation are put to good use, and we strongly expect that there will be breakthrough developments with this initiative,” he said.

This aligns with ZZ2’s ‘Work with nature’ journey that began more than two decades ago, which steers away from conventional, industrial agriculture towards a system that aims to farm in harmony with nature.

“It is important that we nurture nature while using her resources. We are excited to work with the university to explore improved techniques and technologies to find more effective ways towards a sustainable future. Knowledge partners are important in this,” he said.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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