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Niche farming in South Africa: A short overview

Niche farming in South Africa: A short overview

On this article seems to be at area of interest markets within the agricultural business. We take a look at a couple of industries – from fruit and fungi to aquaculture – that has proven potential in South Africa and supply an summary of a few of the hottest area of interest markets discovered as we speak.

Fruit

Blueberries

Blueberry manufacturing in South Africa has
been increasing quickly. Jon Salters, CEO of United Exports, says that
blueberries type a part of the tender fruit class. “By their very nature, mushy
fruit are principally delicate, and in some situations very troublesome to develop.”

The South African Berry Producers’ Affiliation (SABPA) has recorded knowledge of roughly 2 000ha. Nevertheless, given the truth that some growers don’t report their knowledge, Salters believes it’s nearer to 2 500ha or extra.

“The market has seen vital international
enlargement, particularly in sure nations corresponding to Peru, Morocco and South
Africa. That stated, nations comparable to Chile and Canada have been rising
blueberries for a very long time, though these are older varieties which might be quick
turning into much less interesting to shoppers. 

“The overwhelming majority of blueberries in
South Africa are exported, with near 90% of the newer varieties exported. Some
of the older varieties are additionally nonetheless exported in lesser portions, though
the nations shopping for these berries would doubtless classify it as second grade.”

Salters says this class continues to be rising and has a variety of potential, however provides that blueberries are a excessive worth crop and that manufacturing takes place in a really delicate rising setting.

Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit is comparatively new in South
Africa, to shoppers and producers alike. Some South African shoppers might have
seen the odd dragon fruit within the grocery store. They could even have tried it, simply
to be dissatisfied by its watery style.

In a current radio interview on RSG Landbou, Wynand Espach, common supervisor of Amorentia Property and Nursery, stated that the extra conventional cultivars are generally produced in Vietnam, the most important producer on the earth. The nation produces 600 000 to 900 000 tons every year, of which 80% is used for well being and wonder product ranges, because of the truth that their cultivars are slightly tasteless.

There are, nevertheless, extra flavoursome cultivars.
In response to Espach, the Amorentia Dragon Fruit is one such cultivar with a
a lot sweeter style. It additionally has the good thing about being pollinated by nocturnal
bugs and animals comparable to bats, whereas hand pollination is important in
Vietnam. This sweeter cultivar was made out there to business farmers in 2016,
and since then curiosity in producing dragon fruit has skyrocketed.

Present manufacturing is usually centred within the Limpopo space. Dragon fruit is an epiphytic cactus that originates in Mexico and may simply be left to supply by itself. Espach says they’re working with main market brokers in South Africa to develop native and export markets for this area of interest product. Their aim is to develop the native market first by way of consciousness campaigns created to tell shoppers about this sweeter selection. Amorentia needs to make dragon fruit out there in each grocery store.

Pomegranate

Pomegranates are one other area of interest market in
the native fruit business. In line with the Nationwide Agricultural Advertising
Council’s (NAMC) South African Fruit Move
Report (June 2018),South Africa
exports roughly 80% of all pomegranates produced regionally. The primary export
locations embrace the European Union and the Center East.

Determine 1: South African exports and native consumption tendencies of
pomegranates over the previous six years in tons. (Supply: POMASA, 2018)

Manufacturing volumes have elevated virtually
yearly from 2012 to 2017, going from 2 000 tons in 2012 to only under
6 000 tons in 2017. These figures are, nevertheless, nonetheless comparatively small when
in comparison with a few of South Africa’s extra established fruit export markets, such
as nectarines and peaches, the place annual manufacturing is often round 250 000
tons (Hortgro).

Pomegranates have further worth chain potential within the agro-processing business. In a current interview on RSG Landbou, Izette Dreyer of Royale Pomegranate Oil spoke concerning the processing of pomegranate kernels into oil utilized in pores and skin merchandise. This can be a very specialised area of interest market and Royale is presently the one processor in South Africa.

Aquaculture

Trout

Though the trout business has been nicely
established in South Africa through the previous 125 years, it’s nonetheless thought-about a
area of interest market within the agricultural business. In a current radio interview on RSG Landbou, Stephan van der Merwe of
Lunsklip Fisheries mentioned the small print of the business. He stated the business
may be divided into two important classes: stay and processed. Reside trout are usually
bought to vacation locations the place fly fishing is a standard leisure exercise.
Small fish and ova are additionally bought to different farms.

At Lunsklip Fisheries this constitutes up
to 30% of their enterprise. The remaining 70% is devoted to the processed
market with speciality merchandise bought to motels, eating places and different
shoppers. Van der Merwe says they just lately expanded their enterprise to incorporate
the manufacturing of trout ova. This product is especially exported via their
sister firm, Trova Trout. Specialised animal well being certification is required
to export this unique product. The stay ova are provided to farms within the
northern hemisphere throughout our winter (their summer time) as trout solely breed in
winter months.

Trout are chilly water fish and are tailored
to chilly water areas in South Africa with larger altitudes – areas embrace Magoebaskloof,
Lydenburg, Machadodorp, Sabie, Graskop, Dullstroom, Clarens, Bethlehem, the
Drakensberg, and the Western Cape.

The manufacturing parameters for trout farming embrace clear water with temperatures ranging between four and 19°C and 14 to 16°C during times of progress and exercise. The oxygen ranges within the water are of the utmost significance, as chilly water retains oxygen higher. Van der Merwe says that roughly 1ℓ of operating water per minute is required to maintain 1kg fish.

Tilapia

“For the previous 20 years, aquaculture has been
the quickest rising sector within the agricultural business and can proceed to be,
because the demand for fish and the inhabitants grows,” says David Fincham of David
Fincham Aquaculture. “Will probably be seen on most
menus, in most shops and positively on most plates inside the subsequent
decade.

“Though tilapia has already stepped as much as
grow to be probably the most farmed fish on the planet, manufacturing in South Africa is
virtually non-existent, whereas the market is creating at an exponential tempo.”
Fincham says that tilapia bought in supermarkets and eating places are principally
imported from China, Indonesia and Mexico, however might simply have been produced
regionally. There are presently fewer than 100 farmers, however the business is
rising, albeit slowly.

“Tilapia farming and aquaponics will feed the
cities in future. If the fish catches on, because it has finished worldwide, it won’t
stay a distinct segment marketplace for lengthy. A lot of the fish produced regionally are bought immediately
from the farms. There’s, nevertheless, some worth addition within the type of smoked
tilapia, tilapia pâté, and tilapia fillets.

“This sector will maintain increasing as a result of we
can’t proceed to depend on fish from the ocean. Most of the species historically
fished are in peril. Fish farming subsequently must develop, and freshwater tilapia
farming aids within the manufacturing of recent fish within the city and rural
surroundings. That is attainable as a result of the environmental influence is zero, and
with the additional advantage of utilizing nutrient-rich water to develop crops.”

“Tilapia are farmed in quite a lot of methods,
ponds, cages, and re-circulating aquaculture methods (RAS). As tilapia are heat
water fish and their progress charges are pushed by temperature greater than some other
parameter, they have to be farmed commercially in managed environments in South
Africa. Further advantages are that manufacturing requires much less water, power,
and feed in contrast with different farmed sources of protein.”

Fincham says that anybody who’s concerned about aquaculture, involved concerning the setting and the consequences of overfishing, or anybody involved in producing wholesome meals will take an curiosity in tilapia farming. The fish is taken into account one of the crucial versatile fish species to prepare dinner and is all the time tasty, nutritious and wholesome. Tilapia include no hormones, no antibiotics and no chemical compounds.

Fungi

Oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) and different unique varieties have gained reputation
in South Africa in recent times. Though the market continues to be fairly small, it
is steadily increasing and has nice potential, Dr Susan Koch, senior
researcher for fungal illnesses and mushroom manufacturing on the Agricultural
Analysis Council (ARC), just lately stated on the agricultural morning tv present
Grootplaas.

Oyster mushrooms can be found in pink
and yellow varieties. The favored king oyster mushroom is usually utilized in
culinary dishes. Oyster mushrooms are fairly straightforward to supply, however producers
require excessive ranges of experience to realize success.

In accordance with Dr Koch, the primary elements
wanted for manufacturing are substrate, spawn and water. In South Africa, wheat
straw is mostly used as substrate (Dr Koch says the ARC has had nice
success with indigenous Napier grass).

Substrate must be of excellent high quality and
can’t be rotted. Substrate is pasteurised to make sure a hygienic surroundings in
which mushrooms can develop. If not pasteurised appropriately, pests comparable to parasitic
fencing can grow to be an issue. Fungi-eating flies and gnats are the one different
pests that may hamper an oyster mushroom harvest. These small bugs can simply
be stored out if wonderful netting is utilized in manufacturing homes.

“With just a few producers catering to
this area of interest market, it may be boosted additional if shoppers are knowledgeable concerning the
well being advantages of oyster mushrooms,” says Dr Koch. The dried product in
specific isn’t well-known. These mushrooms are excessive in protein, packing
10-30% of protein in dry weight. It incorporates vitamin D and C, niacin, and folic
acid (vitamin B9), in addition to lovastatin, which lowers ldl cholesterol.

These expert and dedicated will fare
properly on this area of interest market as oyster mushroom manufacturing is a 24/7 sort of
farming enterprise. The candidate also needs to be enterprise savvy and do market
analysis earlier than venturing into this market. The ARC provides programs on oyster
mushroom manufacturing for these all for taking over this fascinating
problem. – Ursula Human, FarmBiz

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