Economy => Fresh Produce

Fresh Produce

The production of pure, viable seed for vegetable and pasture industries is essential ensuring a sustainable food supply for humans and animals. The Klein Karoo is a unique farming region, which is ideally suited to vegetable seed production. Various factors enable seed growers to produce high-quality onion, carrot, beetroot, cut-beetroot, spring onion, cabbage, leek, pumpkin, radish and lucerne seed. 

Vegetable seed is produced worldwide for commercial purposes. However, production in some regions of the world is hampered by climatic conditions. Since the Klein Karoo region is ideal for vegetable seed production throughout the year its seed growers are assured of a market.

 Factors that favour seed growers 

For decades producers have made the best use of the Klein Karoo's cold winters and warm summers. Add to this the semi-desert conditions and rainfall of between 220 and 250 mm per year as opposed to the adjacent coastal region's average of 750 mm, and you have a recipe for excellent production, especially of onion seed which requires low humidity and limited rain during the flowering season (October - December). 

Low winter temperatures are important for activating the plant's reproduction phase. In the case of onions, this is when the seed stems develop. The bees that pollinate the flowers can also not work when it rains or when temperatures drop to below 18°C. 

In the Klein Karoo the lack of or minimal rainfall until harvest time is ideal. There are usually no strong winds before harvest time that can uproot ripe onion seed.According to Pieter Burger, operational manager at KLEIN KAROO Seed: Production, the sandy and loamy soil of the Klein Karoo valley is not ideal for seed production, and yet producers, through effective management and maintenance of soil drainage and fertility, succeed in producing world-class seed.

 "Management challenges on our farms require knowledge of the impact that each crop has on soil types. Rotational cropping that includes vegetables, pastures and grain crops, as well as fallow years, is essential in ensuring optimum and disease free seed crops. 

"Enough water of good quality is a prerequisite for growing seed. Cost-effective pest control through responsible use of insecticides and herbicides is also a prerequisite," says Pieter. 

Partnership ensures good returns 

"Seed production is not for bakkie-farmers. Dedication and a love for this highly intensive industry will ensure high yield and profitability. Our seed advisers believe that we, our international client and our growers, in partnership, can produce the very best seed and realise the best prices. Experience, dedication, facilities, our expertise and that of the producer will ensure client satisfaction."After all, we get orders from seed production companies from all over the world. They provide the mother seed in proportion to the tonnage they want delivered within a specific time. The quantity of seed that can be produced from 1 kg mother seed is unique for each seed type and variety.

KLEIN KAROO recruits seed producers with whom we agree on a price per kilogram seed. The producer must be able to meet the client's requirements in terms of seed quality and tonnage."For example, an onion seed grower will plant mother seed in the first season to produce onion bulbs. He then selects bulbs according to the purity properties of the specific variety. He stores the bulbs until the next season and then produces from them the agreed-upon quantity of onion seed.Overseas clients constantly monitor the progress made with their order. After receipt of their final certified yield from the mother seed, the client will supply the end product to producers who grow vegetables for fresh produce markets and retailers," says Pieter.

 

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