Water Stewardship Case Study with Paul Clüver

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.

Paul Clüver is a family run estate that has been in ownership of the Clüver family since 1896, and forms part of larger holistic farming business called ‘De Rust Estate’. Grandmother Gertrude Clüver planted the first apple orchards in 1948, and the estate is now home to 150 hectares of apple and pear orchards, 72 hectares of vineyards, a cellar, and a Hereford stud. Gertrude Clüver also established a school on the farm, De Rust Futura Academy, which has over 1000 learners from surrounding farms. As part of their curriculum, learners get practical experience on the farm, and many qualified learners return to De Rust Estate to work. The estate forms part of the UNESCO world heritage site, the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. Half the estate is set aside for conservation into perpetuity. Most of their water come from three streams that run off the mountain, and they are in the fortunate position to be in control of the catchment area where the streams come from. Paul Clüver’s farming practices focus on actively conserving the entire water catchment area, and they make use of the latest technology, such as drones, for precision agriculture and spatial mapping, to ensure long term sustainable water use. In terms of climate change, they are concerned about extreme weather events, increase in extreme heat days and getting enough cold in winter. However, they are 100% invested in regenerative agriculture, and believe that following a more holistic approach, ensuring a healthy ecosystem, will buffer them against the worst effects of climate change.

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