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1 Aug 2021
Farming is a Profession of Hope
30 Jul 2021
What is Organic Food ? ...
What is Organic Food ? ...

What Is Organic Food ? ...

Today, as more people choose to live healthier lifestyles and awareness of environmental issues increases, the demand for Organic food and drink is growing. But do these foods really offer benefits over conventional chemically grown foods ? ...

The scientific definition of ‘organic compound’ is a chemical compound containing carbon combined with hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. This is not, however, the common understanding of organic food, which is synonymous with terms like ‘biological’, ‘natural’ and ‘ecological’.

Organic food is produced without the use of artificial fertilisers, chemicals, pesticides, growth regulators and livestock feed additives. Organic food, for this reason, is likely to contain lower residues of agricultural chemicals than conventionally farmed food, but due to general environmental pollution these products cannot be completely free of residues. 

Organic farming makes use of traditional methods, such as crop rotation, composting, recycling of farm produced material such as animal manure, hand weeding, environmentally friendly biological pest control, homeopathic remedies and free range animal rearing. 

The primary goal of organic farming is to ensure the optimal interdependent functioning of the soil, plants, animals and people in the ecosystem.

It is important to realise that the production of organic foods requires the same good manufacturing practices, production practices, compositional standards, labelling and regard for food safety as the rest of the food industry, including conventional farming.

Is Organic Food Better For You ? ...
While fresh fruit and vegetables boast the biggest market share, many consumers are starting to buy organic food and drinks as they are seen to be healthier and more natural than their non-organic counterparts. 

Stats confirm that organic food has enjoyed a three-fold increase in demand. This was largely due to health and environmental concerns.

In answering this question it is important to consider 3 main areas, including the safety of the food, its nutritional contribution and whether there are any health benefits in using organic foods to replace conventionally farmed foods.

Food Safety ...
Because synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming, consumer perceptions dictate that these should be lower in organic produce, However, biopesticides are still present as well as some environmental pollutants. The use of animal waste as fertiliser is a major source of disease-causing pathogenic micro-organism contamination in organic foods and possible contamination of ground and surface water. Thorough cooking and washing prior to eating food is essential, as is the management of composting and manure application. Best practice for compost and manure management is now practiced in many countries producing organic foods. More extensive insect damage of organic plants may result in mould growth and toxin production. Scientific evidence shows that these can cause food poisoning. However, reviews concludes that the risk is no greater in organically produced foods than in their conventional counterparts.

Nutritional Health Benefits ...
Minimizing residues should be the focus of good agricultural practice, whatever the method of cultivation used. Consumers should not be fooled by clever marketing, into believing that if it says organic on the label, that it is Organic.

By virtue of the definition, the term ‘organic’ describes the method of cultivation, rather than specific characteristics possessed by the food. It then follows that flavour, nutritional content and health aspects of organic foods are superior to conventionally chemically grown foods.

There is no legislation available at present governing the production of organic food in South Africa. The Department of Agriculture has been trying to set separate regulations for production systems under section 15 of the Agricultural Products Standards Act (Act No 119 of 1990). However this requires changes to the Act and legal processes are slow and challenging.

 The South African organic produce industry thus makes use of international regulations governed by the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements and all farmers have to be certified by international bodies such as Ecocert. 
These authorities inspect these farmers on a regular basis to ensure that they conform to the strict international regulations governing organic farming. In addition, if organic products carries an official organic certification number on the back of the product’s packaging, which means that you can have complete confidence that the product is indeed organic.

The US law allows the classification of products according to the proportion of organic ingredients a food contains. There are 4 categories:
* 100% organic, can carry the organic seal.
* At least 95% organic, can also carry the organic seal.
* Foods made with 70 – 95% organic ingredients can be labeled as “made with organic…” naming the specific ingredients that comply. This claim can be made on the front of the packaging.
* Food containing less than 70% organic ingredients may list specific organically produced ingredients on the side of the packaging, but not on the front panel.
* 'Organic in conversion’ means that the production system of the food has adhered to organic standards for at least one year but which does not qualify as fully organic yet. The process of converting to fully certified organic production could take up to three years.

In the EU a similar situation exists, but using only 2 of these categories:
* At least 95% organic, can carry the label ‘organic’.
* Foods made with 70 – 95% organic ingredients by weight can be labeled as “made with organic ingredients.

What Is The Difference Between Organic And Free Range?
Free-range is a term given to animals that are free to roam in wide, open space. Their living conditions are similar to the standards required for organic farming, but the animals may be treated with veterinary medicines and the food provided may contain additives. Organic farmers use 100% plant food and sick animals are treated with homeopathic remedies only. Should the animals require veterinary medicines or plants be found to contain traces of chemicals, pesticides or genetically modified material, they lose their organic status.

Consumer Issues ...
The growing interest in organic food is likely to be a reaction to consumer unease over pesticide and veterinary drug use, food scares, lack of trust in the food industry and a growing need to consume healthier, safer food. Some of these issues have been touched on, while others are listed below:

* Cost ...
Food Crops farmed through Organic methods are LESS EXPENSIVE to grow !!! ... so don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise !!! ...

Consumer choice ... 
Organic foods provide an alternate to foods which may be produced by conventional methods and making use of modern biotechnology. Although organic food is a growing part of the worlds total food production, it plays an important role in providing something for everyone.

Environmental protection ... 
The management practices used in organic farming, which aim to minimize damage to the environment and animal life, are appealing to those with a strong sense of responsibility toward these issues. However, it must be emphasized that farming is inherently bad for the environment and is a land space competitor to industries like forestry that are good for the environment. All sectors of the food industry are obligated to conform to food safety standards and good manufacturing practices aimed to minimize pollution of water, soil and air. If measured by hectare organic food production is more environmentally friendly, but this effect is smaller when expressed per production unit.
Animal welfare ...
Animal health management is based on disease prevention. While organic meat production focusses on the assumption that if housing, care and feeding of animals is conducted in a certain manner, this will ensure optimal natural resistance to disease. Some practices include larger housing areas (including outdoor access), obligatory straw bedding, organic feed, restricted use of antibiotics, longer waiting times before delivery of products after medical treatments, longer weaning periods (pigs), the prohibition of tail, teeth and beak clipping and the selection of appropriate breeds. Conventional meat production makes use of all of the latest technology to ensure disease prevention and many government policies are focusing on a reduction in the routine use of antibiotics as well as increasing the size of cages and stock pens. At present disease prevention remains the main focus in meat production whether from organic or conventional farming production.

Food security ...
The question remains as to how we will sustainably continue to feed our growing population. While organic farming may be more environmentally sustainable, it makes no use of biotechnologies that can increase yields and reduce pre- and post-harvest losses. The answer is not simple and at present there is a place for both production methods in our food supply.

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in a GreenAgric Greenhouse ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on MeWe*, Twitter*, Facebook and Messenger ...
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Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

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27 Jul 2021
From left: Farmworkers Vitora and Kremelda Ngoveni, Emmanuel Mhlongo (Tsakani‘s deceased father), farmworker Louisa Ngoveni, Tsakani Mhlongo, Otto Mhlongo (Tsakani‘s brother), and Rosalia Mhlongo (Tsakani‘s mother).
From left: Farmworkers Vitora and Kremelda Ngoveni, Emmanuel Mhlongo (Tsakani‘s deceased father), farmworker Louisa Ngoveni, Tsakani Mhlongo, Otto Mhlongo (Tsakani‘s brother), and Rosalia Mhlongo (Tsakani‘s mother).

Limpopo Farmer gives Indigenous Okra a Boost

Part-time farmer Tsakani Mhlongo is the founder and owner of SwaTsakani Farming in Tzaneen, Limpopo, which produces vegetables such as okra, tomatoes and spinach, as well as broilers. She is determined, however, to turn her part-time operation into a full-time career.

Tsakani Mhlongo uses 4ha of the 10ha farm to produce a diverse mix of vegetables, okra, tomatoes, butternut, baby marrow, spinach, chillies, brinjals and soya bean. 

Tsakani Mhlongo, owner of SwaTsakani Farming in Tzaneen, Limpopo, began farming vegetables part-time in 2018. She juggles farming with the demands of her job in the mining industry, where she is currently involved in project coordination.

She started working for a mining company in 2009 in corporate communications after completing a degree in this field at the University of Johannesburg.

Mhlongo says that her background in communications equipped her with the experience necessary to develop her own branding and marketing for her farming operation.

The farm is funded through her full-time job and Mhlongo spends all her free time working on the farm.

She says she always thought of going back to farming later in life as she learnt a great deal from her parents, Emmanuel and Rosalia Mhlongo, and from spending time on their farm during school holidays. As her parents started ageing, their need for someone to step in and take over became greater, which spurred Mhlongo to get involved.

“My father’s death earlier this year made me realise that I’d made this decision at the right time. At least he got to see me continuing his legacy,” she says.

Her parents farmed poultry and vegetables, and ran a few cattle and sheep, and Mhlongo has carried on with this mixed-farming approach. While she now travels between Johannesburg, where she works, and Tzaneen every week, her dream is to be able to live on the farm permanently to realise its full potential.

“My parents also farmed part-time; they lived in Giyani, not on the farm. Because of this they weren’t able to accomplish everything they wanted to achieve with the farm; my goal is to realise their dream.

“I decided to start my own farming company and lease my parent’s property. It was important for me to separate family and business. They didn’t get the land free, so I felt that by leasing it from them, I’d be honouring their work and the investment they made in their own future when buying the land,” she says.

Mhlongo currently uses 4ha of the 10ha farm to produce a mix of vegetables, including okra, tomatoes, butternut, baby marrow, spinach, chillies, brinjals and soya bean. She also has a number of chicken houses that she uses to produce broilers.

She follows a crop rotation guide recommended by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development for Limpopo, which is available online.

“In my community, we have a tradition of helping one another, so as farmers we visit one another’s farms and give advice.

Even when you are new, the other farmers will come to you to make sure that you feel included and part of the farming community in this area,” she says.

Okra production ...
Okra, one of her main crops, is an indigenous and nutritious African food with many health benefits, according to Mhlongo. As a result, demand for this vegetable increased noticeably during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In South Africa, we grow Hibiscus esculentus, which some call the Clemson Spineless cultivar. All okra originates from southern Ethiopia. In the US, other types of okra are grown, with different colours, such as red.

“The Clemson Spineless, Cajun Delight and Blondy Open-Pollinated cultivars are some of the very popular ones found in Limpopo,” she says.

A key feature of an indigenous crop such as okra is that the entire plant is edible, which is an advantage from the perspective of food security. Mhlongo says it is important to get the maximum value from the plant, adding that the leaves and pods can be eaten raw in a salad, or cooked.

Okra is also easy to grow and thrives in poorer soil, she adds. It should be planted in spring for harvesting before or early in winter, as it takes two to three months from planting to produce a crop. The plant does not fare well in cold weather.

Okra generally thrives in the warm Limpopo climate and can be grown for most of the year. In January this year, however, Mhlongo suffered some crop losses due to heavy rainfall. It is also important, she says, to harvest the okra pods when they are still relatively small, as they are usually tastier and more digestible at this stage, and hence preferred by consumers.

“Bigger pods are kept for their seeds. For this purpose, the pods should be left on the vine until they start drying. Once the pod cracks open, the seeds can be removed and saved for later planting.”

Mhlongo mostly uses her own seeds, but supplements this as required with seedlings obtained from a nursery in Tzaneen.

The seeds or seedlings are planted 30cm apart in the row and grown under drip irrigation. She irrigates twice a week during the growing period, but closer to harvest time this may be increased to three to four times a week.

Okra can be fairly labour-intensive, especially as weeds have to be controlled manually on the farm by hoeing. Problem weeds include crabgrass or finger-grass (Digitaria spp) and sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia).

To control pests such as aphids, stinkbugs and blister beetles, Mhlongo and her team apply neem oil, a naturally occurring pesticide found in seeds from the neem tree, along with a few drops of dishwashing liquid.

“I try to farm as naturally as possible” says Mhlongo.

She produces her own compost using plant rests, chicken manure and cow dung. The compost is used as fertiliser and applied before planting. After harvesting, the soil is given time to rest for a month or two before preparation starts for the new crop.

Mhlongo supplies the formal and informal markets. Some of her vegetables are sold via the Joburg Fresh Produce Market, and she provides direct deliveries to her local clients.

Agriculture as a career ...
Mhlongo believes that farming is a viable career and business opportunity that women need to explore due to the increase of support for black youth and females in the sector, thanks to government and private sector initiatives.

There is also a growing interest in reviving the status of indigenous food crops in South Africa, she says.

“This phenomenon is due to the fact that the agriculture sector needs to be grown to ensure that there are sufficient farmers operating viable farms, and that they contribute to the local economy by facilitating skills and technology transfer to the next generation of farmers.”

Her aim is to inspire other women, especially younger ones, to get involved in farming, and follows through with this herself by employing more women on the farm. Three of the four permanent employees on the farm are women.

“I think the farming sector is growing, and there are a lot of young people who want to get involved. And as more young people turn to farming, the sector just keeps getting more attractive,” she says.

Article Credits : Siyanda Sishuba & Farmers Weekly

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
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https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

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Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
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27 Jul 2021
GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels
GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels

GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels

GreenAgric offers a vast range of Greenhouse Tunnels to best suite your specific requirements ...
25 Jul 2021
Sun Map
Sun Map

Making A Sun Map

Tracking Sun Exposure in your Garden and on your Farm & Plot ...

When Customers contact GreenAgric for Greenhouse Tunnels, one of the first questions we ask them is if the tunnel will be installed in a sunny or shady location ...
This simple question stumps many people. I’ve even had couples get into heated debates over how much sun a particular area receives each day. 
While it certainly isn’t important enough to cause a divorce, it is important that plants be placed in locations that meet their specific sunlight requirements. 

GreenAgric recommends that Customers do a garden project that involves graph paper and colored pencils instead of a spade. 
Mapping sunlight in the garden helps you understand the movement of light and shade throughout the day. 
It allows you to place the right plants in the right sun exposure areas, so they do not become stressed and become more subseptible to fungal diseases and pest infestations. 
Sunlight Tracking in gardens, like people, differentiates plants that have different sensitivity to the sun.
Shade-loving plants may get sunscald, or grow stunted when exposed to too much light. 
Likewise for sun-loving plants. 
This is why most plant tags will label the plants as full sun, part sun/part shade, or shade. 
Plants labeled as full sun require 6 or more hours of sunlight each day. 
Part sun or part shade indicates that the plant requires 3-6 hours of sunlight each day. 
Plants labeled as shade or full shade require 3 hours or less of sunlight each day. 
The average garden with a home, garage, and other structures and mature trees or shrubs usually will have a combination of full sun, part sun/shade, and shade areas. 

The sun moves east to west over the earth and it's amazing how many people are not contiously aware of this basic fact !!! ...

This, in turn, causes shade to move from west to east in a clockwise pattern. 
Depending on the time of year, the sun may be higher or lower in the sky, which affects the size of the shadows cast by buildings or trees. 
In spring, many deciduous trees can take a while to leaf out; therefore, allowing more sunlight into an area that will later be densely shaded by the tree’s canopy.
Tracking sun exposure and patches of shade during different months of the growing season will give you the most accurate guideline of what to plant where for optimal plant growth. 
How to Map Sunlight in Your Garden Mapping sunlight in the garden may require you to spend a whole day, from sunrise to sunset, watching light move through the garden. 
Since many of us don’t have the luxury of just sitting around for a whole day watching sunlight and shade, the project can be broken up over the course of a few days. 
It is recommended that you track sun exposure in spring and again in midsummer. However, if you can only do it once, midsummer is preferred. 
To make a sun map, you will need graph paper, a ruler, and colored pencils. Start by making a map of the area you will be tracking sun exposure in. Be sure to include buildings and other structures, such as tall fences, large trees and shrubs, and anything else that may cast shadows throughout the day. 
You do not have to be a skilled artist to draw a simple map of the garden, but do try to be as accurate as possible. 
Your map can be a rough sketch used for the purpose of sunlight tracking, which you can later create a better map from or not – the choice is yours. 
With your sun map in hand, every hour mark down where sunlight is hitting the garden and where the shade is. If you cannot do it each hour, every two hours will suffice. 
Using different colored pencils is helpful, and each hour or two sun and shade can be marked with a different color. I like to use reds, oranges, and yellows to mark sun exposure and cool colors like purple, blue, and gray to indicate shade. 
Be sure to jot down the time of each observance that you mark on the map. After a few hours have passed, you should begin to see a pattern emerge on your sun map. Still, it is important to track an entire day. 

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293on
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
Please visit GreenAgric's Websites ...
https://GreenAgric.com
https://GreenAgric.co.za
https://GreenAgric.Africa

Open 7 to 7 - 7 days a week ...

We look forward to hearing from you soon ...

* Preferred Social Media ...
Twitter*, MeWe*, Telegram*, Signal* ...
Social Media built on trust, control & transparency ...

24 Jul 2021
Yellow Field Peas
Yellow Field Peas

Vegan Demands Presents New Opportunities for Farmers

Yellow Field Peas could be a lifeline for struggling Farmers, as an ingredient in tasty meat-replacement products, the future of this relatively unknown crop looks bright. 

Mark Hassenkamp, chief agriculture operations director at global plant-based food company LiveKindly, spoke to Lindi Botha about the advantages of yellow field peas over sugar cane, and why the crop is also superior to soya beans.

Vegan demands present new opportunities for marginal Farmers ...

Numerous trial sites have been set up across South Africa to test different varieties of yellow field peas in different climates. 

Soya beans are widely used as an animal protein replacement, so why the move to yellow peas ? ...

When seed companies in the US started robust breeding programmes for soya beans some 25 years ago, the focus was on achieving the best yield. There was no preference for flavour or colour, as soya beans were used mostly for animal feed.

Around the same time, however, the Japanese were using soya beans for human consumption in tofu and were therefore looking for a more stable colour and creamier flavours than what was generally grown.

A group of soya bean seed breeders broke away from the norm and, instead of focusing only on yield, starting breeding for flavour and colour. They also moved away from GM varieties and included yellow field peas in their breeding programmes.


Yellow field peas need to be reduced to a flour and then concentrated for use as an ingredient in protein-replacement foods.

Today, there is growing interest in plant-based protein, and the demand for soya beans for human consumption is increasing. But most soya bean varieties are still geared towards production for animal consumption, so the flavour is not particularly good.
This is why so many consumers who have tried plant-based proteins are unimpressed and go back to meat.

When food manufacturers started analysing the plant-based proteins, they realised that the problem lay in how soya beans had been bred. 
As a result, they started studying yellow field peas and realised these peas had never gone the way of soya beans. Peas are mostly not genetically modified, they are allergen-free, and the breeding efforts of the past 25 years have been focused on flavour and colour.

Furthermore, yellow peas have a 32% extractable protein content, compared with 18% in soya beans. The protein content of GM soya beans is higher, but these varieties are a no-go for the health food market.

Initially, yellow peas were grown in colder areas with long, dark winters; Canada, Russia and Ukraine are some of the biggest producers. Gradually, however, production moved south into the US, and breeders found that the crop did well in hotter, drier climates.

They started breeding for these areas, and today there are cultivar selections ideally suited to large parts of South Africa.

What is the ideal climate and where do you foresee will be the greatest opportunity for growth in South Africa?

Yellow peas require a moist seedbed and a dry growth period, and they thrive in sandy soils. The area between Swellendam and Caledon is ideal during summer as it is dry. It also offers a good opportunity for farmers there to get an extra crop off the land, as they have few other options at that time of the year.

Planting in autumn with the last of the winter rain is ideal. In the Lowveld and northern KwaZulu-Natal, March to November is the optimal planting period for yellow peas. As it’s a three-month crop, farmers could get two crops off the land during that time.

Alternatively, they can rotate with soya afterwards or sugar cane in between. In addition, yellow peas thrive on high phosphates and potassium, which are usually present after a sugar crop, and this brings down the input bill for yellow peas.

Harvesting requires a combine harvester. Because sugar cane farmers usually don’t have this equipment and it is expensive to purchase, LiveKindly is looking at ways in which it can syndicate the equipment in these areas.

We are still carrying out trials to determine the suitability of varieties to different climates, and while we cannot say that this is the elixir of South African agriculture, it is a crop that can help farmers get the most out of their land.

Yellow peas can be grown in many areas across the country. They are also an ideal crop to rotate with sugar and canola, which have become difficult to make decent profits from. Both of which have been scientifically proven to feed Cancer and other Dread Diseases.

A good sugar or canola crop, or a barley crop sold to South African Breweries, will outperform yellow peas, but the peas are a great filler and rotational crop that can bring in an extra R9 000/ha to R12 000/ha in three months at a lower capital cost of establishment. They’re a much more efficient use of land.

How can sugar cane farmers benefit from yellow peas ? ...
Many growers are trying to get out of the sugar cane industry because there is no money to be made in areas where production is marginal. With optimal soil and climate, a farmer can still make good money from sugar, but these make up a small percentage of current sugar cane fields.

Many sugar cane farmers have been planting macadamias, but few sugar cane areas are really suited to this crop. It is also a thirstier crop than yellow peas, which use 90% less water than sugar cane.

Non-GM soya beans and yellow field peas, which are both suited to a hot climate, are better alternatives to sugar cane as their profit margins are higher. In addition, demand for plant-based proteins is growing, in contrast to the demand for sugar.

Sugar cane costs around R45 000/ha/year to plant, grow and harvest, but the farmer makes only about R30 000/ ha on marginal lands, which equates to a loss of R15 000/ha.

Compare that with yellow peas, which cost R9 000/ha every three months to establish, and bring in a profit of around R12 000/ha. With two crops a year, that’s R18 000/ha to establish and an annual profit of R24 000/ha.

Ultimately, we need to reduce the sugar cane production footprint but still keep the industry and mills alive. Some mills will be shut down and others will continue operating, but running at higher capacity with sugar from optimal areas producing optimal yields.

The idea is not to replace sugar cane altogether, but to offer an alternative to marginal production. If all growers left the industry, it would be disastrous, as the sugar mills would shut down, leaving a lot of farmland poorly suited to other crops.

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that these marginal lands are mostly in the hands of transitional farmers and community property associations supporting black farmers.

They are subsidised by the mills, a heavy financial burden that adds to the industry’s lack of profitability. 

A viable alternative is needed, and yellow peas become an exciting possibility.

Yellow peas also have a positive role to play in soil health, as they are a nitrogen fixer. Sugar cane has been rotated for about 60 years on the same lands and the soil has been depleted. Yellow peas in rotation can help increase sugar cane yield due to their regenerative effect on the soil, and the crop also makes economic sense.

How big is the market for yellow field peas ? ...
The yellow pea market for human protein is worth around $1,07 million (about R16 million) in South Africa, and we are looking at a 5% growth per year in the value of the market. Currently, demand exceeds supply. In comparison, non-GMO soya for food protein is growing at about 3% per year.

Plant-based protein consumers will pay a fair premium for a meat substitute because it is healthy and there is greater transparency, traceability and trust in these products.

Another factor is that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a higher death rate in developed countries, where many people suffer from cardiovascular disease and many are meat eaters. In contrast, COVID-19 has generally not ravaged poorer countries.

Countries with a large proportion of meat-eaters will see a major shift towards plant-based protein in the coming years. The world is moving towards healthy eating and plant-based protein, and South Africa has been complacent about establishing itself as a premium provider of such foods.

It has the agricultural ability to do so, but needs a sustainable, regenerative story if it is going to brand itself properly and really capitalise on this market.

Farmers need to focus on getting more from each hectare of land, instead of expanding hectares under production.

Water and output per hectare will also be big issues. South African farmers can’t produce foods aimed at the health and environmentally conscious market if they don’t look at water consumption and how they farm.

I also believe that agriculture has missed the opportunity to connect with the consumer. The digital age is bringing the two closer together, and farmers have as much of a vested interest in who is eating their food as consumers have in who is producing it. This is an opportunity to capitalise on a market that is looking for traceability and trust.

The US is the fastest-growing market for plant-based protein, followed by Europe. Next comes Southeast Asia, which South Africa is ideally placed to supply due to its location. The US will produce enough for its own consumption and some exports to Europe.

Approximately 80% of yellow peas grown in the Northern Hemisphere are currently used for animal feed, especially where non-GMO feed is a requirement.

The Indian diet is already very much plant-based due to cultural considerations. But there is a need for more modern products and flavour combinations than traditional dishes like lentil curry, which is where yellow pea products come in.

The market in Europe and the US, on the other hand, would be geared towards plant-based burgers or sausages. But the chicken fillet appears everywhere, so the market potential there is good.

Peas make for a better final product, as they require fewer additives than soya to make the product palatable. If we can’t fill our shelves with plant-based products that are interesting, nutritional and tasty, and that have integrity, the product segment will never grow. But we need volume in order to build processing plants, and enough raw material to make it affordable.

How is production being expanded ? ...
At LiveKindly, we are carrying out 112 field trials in different climates in South Africa with various genetics and phenology cycles for summer and winter, so that we can target the right areas with the right varieties.

Over the next four years, we plan on bringing 40 000ha into production. We’ll enter into a contract with the farmers to provide them with seed, and buy back the harvested crop.

We need to establish about 40 000ha for the economies of scale to work and to justify the cost of the milling plant required. The peas need to be reduced to a flour and then a concentrate that will be the edible form used as an ingredient. The mill would require 120 000t annually, so we need to ramp up production quite quickly.

Article Credits : Lindi Botha & Farmers Weekly

'Grow Your Own' ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
+27 72 387 2293on
or via Telegram*, Signal* or WhatsApp ...
on +27 72 387 2293
We are also available on Twitter*, MeWe*, Facebook and Messenger ...
Twitter : @GreenAgricThe
Email : Sales@GreenAgric.com
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22 Jul 2021
Agriculture Extension Officers
Agriculture Extension Officers

Agri Department’s Extension Officer Recruitment Drive Stalls

The plan to recruit 10 000 extension officers over a three-year period to help new black farmers has seen no progress.

An ambitious plan to bolster agricultural extension services announced earlier in the year during the tabling of the National Budget seems to be going nowhere slowly.

According to the Estimates of National Expenditure, tabled alongside other budget documents in Parliament in February, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (department of agriculture) planned to recruit about 10 000 extension officers over the next three years as part of an extension recovery service.

When asked about progress on this initiative, Reggie Ngcobo, spokesperson for agriculture Minister Thoko Didiza, said no specific budget had been allocated for this initiative and it was in the hands of the provincial agriculture departments.

According to Ngcobo, it became apparent during consultations with the provinces earlier in the year that extension services were a challenge.

“The Department of Agriculture approached National Treasury, which granted approval for the reprioritisation of extension services, but no additional budget was allocated towards this project” 

He added that a practical measure provincial departments could take would be to prioritise the filling of vacancies and replacing current extension officers who had reached retirement age.

The 10 000 number was a thumb suck and there’s no budget allocated towards it, not even in the three-year mid-term budget"
"It makes no sense to just use propoganda talk to appoint more people, if there is not even an operational budget for the existing staff to do their work"
“Officials are working from home or don’t leave the office simply because there’s no money for petrol to visit clients”

Given the current economic crisis in South Africa and the ANC's inability to manage the fiscal, a more sensible approach would be to work together with community organisations instead of duplicating one another’s support services to the industry.

Daniel Johnson, spokesperson for Western Cape MEC for agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, said he was aware of the drive to appoint extension officers, but did not know where the funding to do so would come from.
“We don’t have such funding at the department, and the national government will have to fund this if it’s to be implemented"

Article Credits : Wouter Kriel & Farmers Weekly

So it was just yet another example of ...
'Propoganda Talk' by the ANC Government !!! ...
and once again 'new black farmers' will, in the main, fail, due to lack of mentorship and guidance, and once again we will experience fewer sustainable farms that produce the much needed food crops, required to sustain the growing population.

So to be assured of 'food on the table' in the future ...

'Grow Your Own' ...
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for Food Security

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22 Jul 2021
Eu Green Deal
Eu Green Deal

EU Green Deal could slash SA Food Exports to Europe

The EU Green Deal could have a serious impact on South Africa’s exports of fresh produce to the region. 

The EU’s Green Deal could see a drastic reduction in food imports to the region, which would heavily affect South Africa’s fresh produce industry.

The Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives that aims to make the region climate-neutral by 2050. South African producers of crops that are already grown in the EU will be hardest hit by the scaling back of imports, as the deal seeks to focus on EU-grown produce to reduce transport emissions.

Speaking during a recent Produce Marketing Association (PMA) webinar, Stephanie Wunder, coordinator for food systems at the Ecologic Institute in Germany, said the deal sought to address social and economic issues, alongside environmental sustainability.

This meant that food production regulations would also take into account responsible business practices and labour laws.

“The laws will initially be implemented in the EU, and will then [later] cover imports as well to level the playing field. The key focus areas include a 50% reduction in chemical pesticides, a 25% conversion to organically produced food, a reduction in plastic packaging, and a greater focus on sourcing food locally.”

She added that the demand for regionally produced food was already increasing, as food systems had become more resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic, and people had connected with local producers. There was also a greater awareness of the financial and environmental costs of transporting food.

“I foresee that food imports to the EU will reduce in years to come. While the [region] can be self-sufficient in the calories we need, our diets would change drastically if we were to rely only on local production. So, I don’t believe all imports would be cut, but we certainly can’t be as reliant on imported food as we have been in the past,” she added.

Lianne Jones, country manager for the PMA in South Africa, said South African producers of counter-seasonal crops would benefit under the proposed regulations, as would those who produce crops, such as bananas, which the EU is unable to produce.

“However, the export windows might tighten as the EU seeks to make do with locally grown produce for as long into the season as possible.

“Those who do export will, however, face stricter standards. This will include an improvement in human standards [of living] and fair wages, which need to be maintained throughout the value chain.”

Jones noted that the upside of the proposed legislation was that codes of conduct would be implemented to prevent unfair business practices by retailers. “Contracts would not be able to be cancelled at the last minute, and there could be a consolidation of audits to prevent each supermarket from having an increasing number of audits to fulfil.”

Jones and Wunder added that while the implementation of these regulations would start in the EU, they would effectively be setting the standard for the rest of the world. This meant that producers would need to comply with the regulations, regardless of where their markets were located.

Article Credits : Lindi Botha & Farmers Weekly

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20 Jul 2021
Hi Everyone ... Sorry to hastle you ... Your Very Kind Donation to the Pet Rescue Food Appeal is Urgently needed, as we are desperate for Pet Food in the Port Edward area ... Please Support us Generously at this Critical Time, as there are a LOT of Very Hungry Pets in this area now ... All contributions will be gratefully received and acknowledged ... Thank You in Anticipation ... Stay Safe ... Pete Pete's Pet Help ... https://petemoore.simdif.com/Pete_s_Pet_Help_-_Rescue_Pets_Food_Appeal.html
20 Jul 2021
Together We Can Make It Happen
16 Jul 2021
Due to the ongoing threat of violent protests and road closures, dairy farmers in KwaZulu-Natal cannot deliver milk to factories or transport workers to operate these facilities.
Due to the ongoing threat of violent protests and road closures, dairy farmers in KwaZulu-Natal cannot deliver milk to factories or transport workers to operate these facilities.

Food and Farm Input Shortages Emerge as Unrest Blocks Supplies

Due to the ongoing threat of violent protests and road closures, dairy farmers in KwaZulu-Natal cannot deliver milk to factories or transport workers to operate these facilities. 

Industry bodies and agricultural leaders have expressed grave concern about the disruption of supply chains, as violent protests continue to sweep across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

It was important that law and order be re-established as a first priority, Christo van der Rheede, president of Agri SA, said.

He stressed that transport networks, including harbours and airports needed to be secured.

Farmers needed to ensure communication channels were working and that they worked in conjunction with local safety initiatives to protect their properties and the safety of their families, as well as the communities in their immediate areas, he said.

“We are currently dumping up to two million litres of milk a day in KwaZulu-Natal as milk buyers cannot access farms to collect,” said Collin Wellbeloved, chairperson of the Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO).

Fanie Ferreira, acting CEO of the MPO, said it was crucial that transport networks were made safe and operational again.

Not only could farmers not deliver milk to factories, but these facilities could also not transport workers to operate the facilities. In addition, consumers could not access the products if shops and retail venues were closed or had been destroyed.

Ferreira said an additional problem was that farmers could not receive feed deliveries. “In KwaZulu-Natal, most farms are pasture-operated, but feed supplements are crucial for animal conditioning. Once lost, it may take months to rebuild commercial conditioning in dairy herds.

Hannes Nel, MPO chairperson for the Western Cape, said most dairy farmers could only keep milk on the farm for between one or two days.

“Milk is a perishable product, and without the entire cold chain in place, it simply cannot work.” Nel said main the transport arteries from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Nata into Gauteng were of strategic importance at the moment.

Adding his voice to the list of concerns, Corné Louw, chief economist at Grain SA, said the disruption to the Durban harbour was very alarming.

“More than 80% of the grain industry’s inputs, such as fertiliser, fuel and equipment, enter the country via Durban. Fuel is transported via pipeline and trucks alongside the N3 from Durban, so this is also a concern.”

Louw said prior to the unrest, strong international grain prices had stimulated higher demand for grain inputs, and now with the added disruption to the country’s logistical networks, farmers should secure all the needed inputs for the coming season well in advance.

Louw said if one looked further down the value chain, millers and bakers were also being disrupted.

“Once a bakery shuts down, it is not as simple as flipping a switch to get it back in operation again,” he said.

John Stuart, chief executive of the South African Road Transport Association, told Farmer’s Weekly that logistics companies were not risking their trucks on the road now.

“The situation on the N3 between Durban and Johannesburg is of concern, but more so, we are not seeing any decisive intervention from government to stabilise the situation,” Stuart said.

Article Credits : Wouter Kriel & Farmers Weekly

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16 Jul 2021
Durban's Fresh Produce Market Closure Worsens Food Supply Disruptions in KZN
Durban's Fresh Produce Market Closure Worsens Food Supply Disruptions in KZN

Durban's Fresh Produce Market Closure Worsens Food Supply Disruptions in KZN

The Durban Fresh Produce Market has been shut down since Monday due to the violent protests in the province. This is severely affecting the supply of fresh produce to vulnerable communities, says RSA Group. 

A crucial link in KwaZulu-Natal’s food security, the Durban Fresh Produce Market, has been shut down since Monday due to the violent protests in the province.

This is severely affecting the supply of fresh produce to vulnerable communities, according to Jaco Oosthuizen, CEO of the RSA Group.

He said the informal trade has been severely impacted, which means poor and remote communities are increasingly cut off from food supplies.

“Traders and consumers now have to travel long distances to access supplies, and have to pay a lot more for what they can access. This is a huge issue, because a large number of South African households rely on the informal trade for food access.

“Producer output has slowed, and produce that is ready for harvesting and has no route [open] to market will potentially be ploughed back [into the lands], resulting in massive losses and knock-on effects across the supply chain.”

Andre Young, senior manager of operations and marketing at the Durban Fresh Produce Market, said the situation around the market was very volatile, but thus far there has been no damage to infrastructure at the market.

“We don’t have an exposed shopfront, and with the closing of the gates and locking up of all access points, the premises is well protected.”

Johan de Jager, director of Hanly Market Agents, told Farmer’s Weekly that refrigeration systems were still working and produce could be kept cool, but the quality of the produce on the market floor would eventually start deteriorating.

“We will see a massive impact on food security in days to come. The market handles R5 million worth of produce every day. We supply mostly informal markets so it is really staple foods that will be affected.

“But at this stage the greater concern is for human lives. We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves by trading so we are staying closed, assessing the situation each day.”

Oosthuizen said government should consider deploying the South African National Defence Force to protect deliveries to and from KwaZulu-Natal.

However, even if this was to happen, the market would need to be open to service buyers, who still needed to get to the market.

Meanwhile, RSA Group was in communication with producers and buyers to discuss any and all possibilities to restore trade.

“Our mission is to restore connections between producers and buyers as quickly as possible, and we’ll work as hard as we can behind the scenes to achieve it.”

Article Credits : Lindi Botha & Farmers Weekly

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15 Jul 2021
Food Prices Will Rise
Food Prices Will Rise

Food Prices Will Rise 

Food items will be hard to come by ...
and prices will rise.
that’s the warning ...
from agricultural body, AgriSA.

It’s flagged the possibility of hunger in some communities saying aid organisations who feed many South Africans will run out of supplies soon.

Agri-SA says trucks carrying supplies have been looted and attacked, with very few supplies of fruit, vegetables, and meat reaching the markets in recent days.

And as we know ...
Many supermarkets and stores ...
have been looted and vandalised ...
over the past few days ...

The group is calling on the presidency to ensure logistical infrastructure such as roads, harbours, and airports are protected.

Grow Your Own ...
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14 Jul 2021
GreenAgric predicted this ...
GreenAgric predicted this ...

We Don't Like to Remind You ... BUT

We don't like to remind you ...
BUT ...
we have been issuing this warning ...
for months and years ...

"Food Security Shortages Warning ...
there will become a time VERY SOON ...
when only people who plant their own ...
Organic Food will be eating ... 

many people will become sick ...
many people will die ...
many businesses will close down ...
many people will become unemployed ...

There will be severe 'lockdowns' imposed ...
that will adversely affect the availability and affordability of food ...

Which will mean that people will become desperate ...
and take unprecedented mob action ...
to secure food supplies ...

Which will mean a ...
Shortage of Food ...
in supermarkets and shops"

so if you are not already ...
'Growing Your Own Organic Food'
you should start planting immediately ...

Grow Your Own ...
Sustainable Organic Food Crops
in GreenAgric Greenhouse Tunnels ...
for Improved Health
for Food Security

Only GreenAgric Offers ...
* Free Delivery to most places on SA
* Free Assistance with your DIY Tunnel Installations ...
* Free Ongoing 'Best Help and Advice' for growing your own Food Crops ...

GreenAgric are the Very Best Value for Money Tunnels in Southern Africa ...

Contact The GreenAgric Group on .
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We look forward to hearing from you soon …
and helping you with your Green Project …

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