Agribusiness

Farmer’s Weekly brings you the latest agribusiness news and updates from South Africa and the rest of Africa.

Finding water for the Vaal

If nothing is done to increase water availability in the Vaal River water supply system - including clamping down on illegal water use by irrigation farmers - it will be the farmers themselves who first feel the pinch of a severe drought-like deficit.

Increasing crop yields with trees

Evergreen agriculture combines conservation farming and agroforestry to create what proponents call an 'out of the box solution' to increase crop yield, improve soil, make better use of scarce rainwater and absorb atmospheric carbon. Alan Harman investigates.

Size matters

Charl Senekal's achievements over the past 30 years have made him a 'super farmer' - he's got big ideas and the guts to follow them through. He told Robyn Joubert about his success with mechanisation and economy of scale.

Major conservation win for famers

'KwaMandlangampisi' might be a bit of a mouthful, but it's a name to savour because it's the country's first Protected Environment, and it bars an important catchment area from mining. Heather Dugmore finds out how this giant step for conservation in South Africa carries a range of other benefits for farmers.

Harvesters keep American farmers in business

For six months every year, the Eberts family and other contract harvesters are on the road, cutting crops for farmers across the American Midwest, from the Texas border in the south to the Canadian border in the north. The job takes dedication, as machinery is expensive and rain can hold up crew, who sometimes work for up to 18 hours straight.

How banana flour is helping Ugandan farmers

A presidential pilot project in Uganda is using value-adding to exploit a massive banana surplus, producing banana flour with biofuel as a byproduct. Robyn Joubert reports.

Animal improvement ‘needs a rethink’

Kevin Watermeyer, president of the Nguni Cattle Breeders' Society of South Africa, shares his views about the way forward for animal improvement and the future of the Nguni. Heather Dugmore reports.

Harrison Hope -The Eastern Cape’s first wine estate

American missionaries Ronnie and Janet Vehorn travelled to South Africa to preach to the Xhosa. Now they've fulfilled their dream of establishing the Eastern Cape's first wine estate along the Klipplaat River near the former Ciskei town of Whittlesea.

Struggling to farm in a land of plenty

Eastern Cape's Umnga flats was once a highly productive commercial farming area. But it slipped into decay in the early 1980s, when commercial farmers were relocated and the farms were leased to emerging farmers and incorporated into the former Transkei bantustan.

Power hikes deadhead flower farmer

Once Eskom's poster boy for electrified greenhouse heating, cut-flower farmer David Gates feels he has now been hung out to dry by the state utility. The annual fees he's charged are up to R150 000 before he's even flicked on a switch, and they're crippling his business.

Get ready for the spekboom revolution

Cape Town-based entrepreneur Wynand Odendaal says spekboom is ready to take the carbon market by storm – and earn some farmers big money. Roelof Bezuidenhout reports.

Ethanol-from-sugar-beet project in the great Fish River

The planned ethanol-from-sugar-beet project in Cradock looks like it's going ahead. But the farming community has been left divided, with some excited by the prospect of new markets, while others dread increased crime and a disrupted community.

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