Agribusiness

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

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.

Snails put BEE on the fast track

Elezane Industries started as a community development project in 1999 and is now South Africa's first live-snail exporting business. It creates hundreds of jobs while also offering an environmentally friendly solution to the snail problem on Cape farms.

Variety keeps citrus industry competitive

Etienne Rabe of integrated citrus company Biogold USA believes introducing new citrus varieties that cater to changing consumer demands is key to ensuring the global citrus industry remains competitive. A progressive grower can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and new management tools can greatly reduce the risks involved.

Are you a criminal?

It seems people can come on your land and kill you with impunity these days, but woe betide the farmer who fiddles with a watercourse or indulges in a “listed activity” without the proper permission. A host of legislation now determines what you can and can’t do on your land. And failure to comply, even through omission, can lead to hefty fines and even imprisonment. Advocate Douw Venter takes us through the fine print.

Low maize price: your options

The current low maize price, with supply greatly exceeding demand, is a problem for most maize farmers. Henry-Ben Rheede, Standard Bank’s agricultural adviser for the northern Free State shares some creative ideas on how to counter, survive and even profit from the situation.

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