• Green for the gold

    Green for the gold

    In the face of ongoing drought conditions and increasing year-round demand for ‘green gold’, many South African farmers are switching to avocados as their harvest of choice.

    The country generates ZAR1.85 billion a year from avocados, producing around 125 000 tons per annum – more than half of which is exported to Europe, as reported by Reuters.

    Typically grown in sub-tropical climates in the Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, the lucrative crop is now being planted in the drier Eastern and Western Cape provinces. ‘Forestry plantations are being felled and cleared and avocados planted,’ says Derek Donkin, CEO of the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association. He adds that the rate could reach 2 000 ha p/a in the next few years.

    On average, an avocado plantation takes six years to reach production. However, they’re growing by about 1 000 ha annually, with 16 500 already in existence. Water-saving measures such as planting orchids on ridges to reduce surface run-off and drip irrigation are being implemented.

    26 June 2018
    Image: Unsplash