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4 years ago

The Partnership no. 8

  • Text
  • Products
  • Lettuce
  • Partnership
  • Enza
  • Varieties
  • Vegetables
  • Zaden
  • Growers
  • Vegetable
  • Markets

New markets for onions

New markets for onions cultivation are all happening here on a large scale. With the emergence of hydroponic lettuce production, these growers know how to use water and fertilisers efficiently and sparingly. Because of developments like these, we are seeing a lot of upscaling among many growers.” Partnerships in South Africa Strategic partners are a must for a proper and efficient seed distribution. In South Africa, Enza Zaden therefore teams up with the Jaco Straus, sales representative Hygrotech for Johannesburg and Pretoria, in a tunnel with Sylviana. The Ceres valley near Cape Town is well known Mechanisation country's local but leading sales organisations in vegetable seeds: Starke Ayres and Hygrotech. Both companies are very successful for its exports of citrus and other fruit, but less Automation and mechanisation in this industry were given an extra boost and are extending their efforts into other African markets too. well known are the 2,500 ha of onions planted recently when the minimum wage was increased by more than 50%. Growers here every year. “Onions are a very important who had previously focused very much on manual labour, and therefore on Starke Ayres was founded over 130 years ago and since then has market for us – one in which we also have a big getting the work done as efficiently as possible, began to invest in grown to become the largest independent vegetable seed company market share,” says Area Manager Michel de mechanisation. Ramokgopa: “Wherever machines can take over from manual in Southern Africa. Today, the company's brand is found in both the Voogd. “Back in the day when everything was labour, this is happening. Vegetable varieties that are less labour-intensive or that professional and retail market and it is recognised all over Africa. still being done manually, all the onions had to can be harvested mechanically are increasing in popularity. Growers who can’t Besides several suppliers, Starke Ayres is breeding in several key be out of the ground before February because make efficient use of their workers have switched to extensive crops such as crops for African markets, such as tomato, beans and pumpkin. the workers had to start working on the fruit maize or pumpkins.” "Enza Zaden has become their most important seed supplier," harvest. But now we have good hybrid varieties like Plutonus and Olivine which are ideal for Collaboration in the production chain explains Enza Zaden's Export Area Manager Michel de Voogd. "Together we dominate the South African onion market with a harvesting mechanically because of their It is striking how progressively the parties in the South African production chain strong variety range." excellent skin and shelf life. While the bulk of the are linked together. “This is particularly true of seed companies, supermarkets workers are out picking fruit, the harvesting and growers,” says Area Manager Michel de Voogd. “When we organise field Hygrotech was founded in 1984 and over the years the company machines take care of the onions, and they have days together with our distributor, we see various representatives of the has developed into a pioneer in new technologies for horticulture created a new market segment.” production chain walking through our fields. The big supermarket chains like and agribusiness in South Africa. Starting with a wide range of Woolworths and Pick n Pay always send their food fresh produce technologists. hybrid seed from several breeding companies, Hygrotech is now They are not so much looking at our production methods but are more interested also a strong player in other products such as soft chemicals, in differentiation on the basis of flavour, uniformity and shelf life. The quality has growing medium, amenity grass seeds and foliar sprays. CEO Henry to be good.” Supermarkets are accounting for an ever increasing share of van der Voort: “Over the years, Enza Zaden has strengthened their vegetable sales and source directly from the growers. New vegetable varieties product portfolio with open field crops and has therefore become are added to the range following extensive testing in the sales channel. So simply our main supplier for the South African vegetable market”. convincing growers of higher returns or better disease package is not enough. Besides South Africa, these retailers have set their sights on the rapidly-growing market across the continent as a whole, and new stores are constantly being opened in neighbouring countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and Namibia, as well as further afield in Ghana and Nigeria. These countries currently fly many of their vegetables in from South Africa, but they too are looking to fill the gaps with local growers. Challenges Despite the emerging consumer market, it is no easy ride for the agricultural sector in Southern Africa. Political challenges and natural obstacles are facing the sector. Climate change is making planting and harvesting plans unreliable and crop failures due to factors such as hail or heavy rains are an ever more frequent occurrence. Apart from that, growers are having to contend with increasing numbers of new plant diseases spread by sources such as contaminated river water. “For seed companies, these factors offer new opportunities to select varieties with more resistance and that are able to withstand the vagaries of Matome Ramokgopa in Yossi Kahlon’s hydroponic greenhouse. nature. With all the developments and opportunities in this country, South Africa sure has a bright future.” 10 | The Partnership The Partnership | 11

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