The HortiDemoCentre, at Welgevallen Experimental Farm in Stellenbosch, is a collaborative project showcasing Dutch innovation within the South African horticulture context. With support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), we as a consortium of partners, including local and Dutch companies, with Stellenbosch University, feel privileged to be working together to lead farmers in climate-smart horticulture.
As partners, Delphy BV, Stellenbosch University, Greener Solutions, Ludvig Svensson, Ridder Group, Rijk Zwaan, Control Union and Koppert South Africa all contribute a broad spectrum of knowledge and technology throughout the horticultural value chain: from seed to market, to aim to develop, together with South African farmers, a business case for production for high end markets in South Africa.
Why the HortiDemoCentre?
The South African agricultural sector is characterized by a dual economy. On the one hand there is a well-developed commercial farming industry with an established supply chain, and on the other hand a small emerging and subsistence sector that struggles to reach high quality and to access premium prices.
Between these two main groups of farmers there is considerable knowledge and skills gap. For emerging farmers, it is challenging to invest in modern horticultural technologies as they are bound to the available funding mechanisms and as banks tend to be risk-averse when it comes to agriculture. For this reason, emerging farmers tend to have short term planning perspectives which brings them to invest in cheaper solutions, of which there is a wide range available on the market. These low-tech structures have a high failure rate, and they experience a lower return of investment and crop success rate than multi span greenhouses. Besides the possibilities to manage the climate with such systems are limited, implying a sub-optimal use of resources, such as water, or even crop failures. Business growth and development is hardly achievable with this type of structures.
Employment rates in South Africa are sky high with little perspective for the young population. Therefore, job creation is a main concern for the South African government. On the other hand South Africa is faced with the severe consequences of climate change. Sustainable use of water is therefore also a great concern.
Sustainable Development Goals
The Sustainability Development Goals which apply to this impact cluster are:
- SDG 02 | Zero Hunger: The main problem within the target countries is not so much food shortage, but more food quality. We guide the local community in improving the local production of fresh fruits and vegetables, using innovations and sustainable solutions;
- SDG 03 | Good Health and Well-being: The aim of the impact cluster is to increase the availability of fresh, healthy and locally produced food in the target countries;
- SDG 04 | Quality education: The aim of the impact cluster is to transfer knowledge of horticultural production and technology and to increase cooperation with local schools;
- SDG 08 | Decent Work and Economic Growth: Encouraging “fair” and “decent” work and involvement of the local community should promote economic growth.
- SDG 11 | Sustainable Cities and Communities: The impact cluster stimulates local and sustainable production through Dutch technology and knowledge transfer
- SDG 17 | Partnerships for the goals: Partnerships between the private and public sector are key for success. By working together, we can accelerate the transition to more sustainable horticulture and increased food safety and food security in South Africa.