As the Western Cape grapples with our drought problem, Capetonians have had to do away with luxuries like bathing and flushing the toilet.
Remember when you could flush a pee without feeling guilty that there wasn’t something brown floating in it? My, those were the days.
So far we’re holding our own, pushing back Day Zero through a massive collective effort, but spare a thought for our province’s farmers.
The industry has taken a significant knock (even the wine industry – horror!), and it’s left many farmers looking to make changes to the ways in which they operate.
We’re not going to pretend that we’re farming experts, but how about this for a cherry-picked idea from Bizcommunity?
Once a very small-volume crop in the Western Cape, cherries have more than quadrupled their export market share over the last four years and continue to show excellent potential as an alternative crop.
The Western Cape Government has to date invested R6.916m in the development of alternative crops such as berries, cherries, fynbos, pomegranates, and honeybush. These are smaller, export-oriented crops with high market value, and greater potential for job creation.
Cherries use about half of the water required per hectare to irrigate, compared to apples and are a labour-intensive crop.
Half the water, pal. No wonder more and more farmers are looking to cash in, whilst saving water at the same time.
Let’s be honest, cherries are also twice as nice to eat as apples. Yeah, I went there. Next week we deliver a brutal take down of pears, so be sure to stop by.
OK, enough tomfoolery. Total exports of the fruit from South Africa in 2012 were valued at just R2,6 million, but reached the lofty heights of R28 million in 2016 alone.
The global demand for cherries has also seen a massive increase during the same period, but it appears there is still a gap in the local market.
Cherry exports here in SA only accounted for 0,080% of the world’s total cherry exports, so there’s plenty of room for growth.
Of course growing the tasty red devils is just one part of the process, because then you’ll need to take care of the whole export game.
We reached out to global freight logistics experts Berry & Donaldson for comment, and here’s what MD Paul Waldburger had to say:
We have handled an increasing number of cherry exports these past few years, and they require quite a sophisticated operation.
Because much of their value is derived from appearance, we have to make sure that they are exported in a way that doesn’t compromise the look of the product in any way.
Hopefully, with their water-wise farming methods, we will see this export industry continue to show growth as farmers look for ways to decrease their reliance on water.
Who knows – maybe a gap in the market for some budding farming entrepreneurs?
Grow your cherries, ship them off with the company that handles every step of the complicated process of getting your cargo to and from the required destinations, and life oppie plaas is lekker.
Good luck out there.
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