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Coffee

Coffee production in South Africa

Introduction In terms of value, coffee is one of the world’s most important commodities. Coffee is a vital crop for developing countries, providing vital foreign exchange earnings and an income for farmers. It is also an ideal crop for areas with poor infrastructure, as it is one of the few tropical horticultural crop products that […]

Cannabis

Hemp, a cousin albeit with no psychoactive properties, hopes that its own unfettered cultivation and potential might also soon be realised. The seeds, flowers, fibre and stalks can be used in multiple ways (see “Fibre crops” page).

Wine and wine grapes

Introduction The Cape wine-growing areas, situated in the narrow viticultural zone of the southern hemisphere, mainly have a Mediterranean climate. The mountain slopes and valleys form the ideal habitat for the wine grape Vitis vinifera, the products of which have given pleasure to humankind for many centuries. Long, sun-drenched summers and mild, wet winters contribute to […]

Fibre crops

Introduction There are a number of different fibres found in plants: Bast fibres e.g. flax, hemp, jute and kenaf Leaf fibres e.g. sisal, palm Seed fibres e.g. cotton, capok Fruit fibres – coconut Wood fibres e.g. pinewood, Baobab bark This page will look at some fibre plants. Source: “Classification and essential parts of fibre crops”, […]

Forestry

Introduction If you were asked to list a hundred things you could do with bamboo, your first thought might be that bamboo poles can be tied together to make a fence, a bridge, a shack or some kind of settlement. Bamboo’s uses do indeed include construction (the costs of bamboo dwellings compare very favourably with […]

Rooibos (redbush)

Farming rooibos in South Africa

Introduction Rooibos, Aspalathus linearis, is a natural herb found in the Cape fynbos biome. It is cultivated commercially mainly in the Cedarberg region north west of Cape Town. The plant thrives on coarse sandy soil and winter rainfall. It is called rooibos (‘red bush’) or Red Tea because of its colour when dried. It has a […]

Moringa

Moringa in South Africa

Photo above used courtesy of Errol Moloto Introduction The moringa tree has its origins in the northern regions of India. In Africa, two types are grown, moringa oleifera and moringa stenopetala (Lekgau, undated). The moringa tree is considered one of the most nutritious trees in the world since it has vitamins, minerals and amino acids which the human body […]

Indigenous medicinal plants

Indigenous medicinal plants South Africa

Introduction In the past two decades, the links between bio-cultural diversity and the richness of plant species in South Africa have contributed to ongoing attempts to develop traditional medicines for use in the modern complementary and alternative medicines sector. Eventually this will aid in the discovery of new drug entities for pharmaceutical industries. African traditional […]

Tobacco

Tobacco and smoking in South Africa

Introduction The tobacco plant is a member of the same botanical family as tomatoes, potatoes, peppers or eggplants. Tobacco does well in poorer soils, providing farmers with a welcome alternative crop. In many cases, tobacco provides a higher income than any other smallholder crop. As a crop, it fits well into environmentally friendly rotations: growing […]

Sugarcane

Sugarcane farming in South Africa

Introduction Sugarcane is cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates in areas with a plentiful supply of water. Approximately 800mm per annum is needed for a successful crop. Lower rainfall than this leads to difficult times for the industry. There is a vast global market for sugarcane derivatives. These are prevalent in the modern diet both […]