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.
Cerasus Farming lies in the fertile Hoeko Valley at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains in the Little Karoo. Cerasus is a relatively young business (established in 2006), which started off with only 30 hectares of stone fruit. Cerasus was built up annually up to 65 hectares, until 2016, when a severe five-year drought hit the region. Even without the drought, the Little Karoo can be a challenging region to farm in, so Cerasus went through an unusually trying time during the drought. They did everything differently and many lessons were learned. What is commendable is that after five years of drought they only had about a 1% loss. They got by with almost no water and still harvested a 30% crop that was of export quality. Cerasus also did not lay off any workers during the drought (other farms in the region had to do this to survive). Cerasus is now focussed more than ever on farming as sustainably as possible and protecting the environment for future generations. Their farming methods have to a large extent adopted a more biological approach. For the first time since the drought, they have had a phenomenal harvest again this year. The drought was tough, but the farm is now beautiful and green again.
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More to come soon…