As part of Worldwide Fruit’s Water Stewardship programme, Blue North is writing up a number of case studies on Worldwide Fruit’s key growers and where they are in terms of water stewardship in their main catchments. The aim of these case studies is to raise awareness on water challenges, but also to showcase sustainability strategies that South African growers are implementing.
Boplaas 1743 Landgoed was established in the Koue Bokkeveld in 1743 and is known as the oldest family business in South Africa. The van der Merwe family entered the fruit business on the original farm in the early 1900’s. Around the 1940’s, they started exporting Boplaas apples to the UK. Boplaas is now a fast-growing company, currently consisting of six farms and a packhouse. They mainly produce apples, pears, peaches, and citrus. Boplaas tries to keep up with best practice in water management by staying informed on new technologies and techniques. They switched from micro-irrigation to self-compensating drip irrigation, and water usage for the same 150 ha decreased from 9 000 to 6 500 cubic litres. They also aim to raise awareness among their workers, and the general public, to be water-wise. At Marlenique Estate, a division of Boplaas 1743 Landgoed, a 594 kW power solar system (534 kWp ground mounted & 60 kWp floating solar) was installed. Now, Marlenique’s energy intensive cold storage facility, packhouse, and irrigation systems all run on the solar system, reducing the farm’s carbon footprint by more than 50%. For a number of years Boplaas 1743 Landgoed has been focusing on enhancing soil health, improving water management practices, greening their energy consumption, and investing in best labour practices. Their aim is to remain forward thinking, explore new products, new markets, and better ways of farming. Having that kind of approach will not only guarantee success, but also happiness.
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