The boom in nut prices in recent years is expected to continue as consumers opt for healthier foods. This has increasingly led to farmers replacing their crops with nut trees. While pecan farming can be a lucrative venture, aspiring nut growers must begin with a solid foundation, says Shane Eva, farm manager for Halls and Sons.
Bernie van den Heever and Danie Smit are proving that mango production can become a thriving enterprise in the Western Cape.
Demand for litchis and avocados has soared and encouraged producers to embrace precision farming methods. Stephan Schoeman, owner of Soetkalmoes Consultation in Nelspruit, an advisory service for the tree crops industry, tells Gerhard Uys how these practices are improving yield and crop quality.
To maximise pecan nut production, it is crucial to prepare the soil properly. This includes applying fertiliser correctly, ensuring sufficient macroelements, and proper orchard planning. A team from Laeveld Agrochem recently gave a presentation on these aspects.
Two ways of reducing farming risk are to grow a variety of crops and plant in different geographical areas. Several citrus farmers from the Eastern Cape and other provinces have done both: they’ve bought land near Robertson to diversify production, and introduced new crops. Glenneis Kriel spoke to Hannes Joubert, and his son-in law, Jan Rabie, about their new venture.
Dr Gerhard Nortje, a fertiliser consultant and senior lecturer at the University of South Africa, says that correct soil pH and nutrient balance are crucial for the sustainable and profitable production of macadamia trees.
Johan Esterhuyse, who produces a range of stone fruit varieties has introduced mechanisation on his farm to ensure profitability and long-term sustainability. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the positive impact of these innovations.
South Africa’s macadamia industry is expected to double production over the next few years. But processors will have to find new markets and add value to nuts to maintain exports, according to Alex Whyte, sales and marketing manager for Green Farms Nut Company.
Strawberry production in South Africa is expensive, with exhorbitant set-up costs. The market is also very competitive. Mark Miller, operations manager at Redberry Strawberry Farm in George, spoke to Jay Ferreira about how the company has tapped into the local and export markets, and how agritourism has given them an extra edge over local competitors.
Despite extremely dry conditions, Ceres Valley farmer, Retief du Toit, recently succeeded in producing his two best harvests ever. He spoke to Glenneis Kriel about how he achieved this.
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture is funding research to stimulate and sustain the growth and development of minor crops in the province, a move that promises to transform the guava industry in the region.
Golden kiwifruit is in high demand in Europe and Asia. New Zealand is currently the largest producer and exporter of the fruit in the southern hemisphere, but South Africa is ideally placed to take advantage of an annual gap in production.