Raisins South Africa identifies soil health as key environmental strategy for the future

Raisins South Africa are working to provide direction on the environmental integrity dimension of sustainability, to advance the industry’s sustainable performance levels for the future.

As part of this strategy, non-for-profit organisation Raisins South Africa held a ‘Healthy Soils for Healthy Vines’ themed field day at the start of 2021. The workshop was attended by 120 raisin growers and 50 pupils from the agricultural department at High School Martin Oosthuizen over the course of two days.

The raisin industry believes that it is crucial that youth are involved in strategies such as these, to ensure that they are well informed on the relevance of soil health, to work towards higher levels of sustainability. The workshop highlighted the importance of healthy soil properties, through demonstrating how different soil preparation techniques can be applied to ensure optimum use of this natural resource. Stefan Jordaan, Raisins South Africa’s Agri-specialist, explains: “For any raisin grower, sustainable production over the long term is crucial, therefore soil health is at the heart of raisin production.”

Approximately 16,000 hectares are planted in South Africa with dedicated raisin cultivars including Sultana, Merbein, Selma Pete, and Sugra 39. Raisin production requires good healthy soils, sufficient water, and good climatic conditions. Without these basic resources it would not be possible to produce quality fruit. Jordaan adds: “Safeguarding and managing our soils are key to future productivity of quality raisins.”

The South African raisin industry also plays a key role in generating economic activity, creating jobs, earning foreign currency, and stimulating South African rural economies. The dried fruit industry alone sustains 30,110 job opportunities in the rural Northern Cape in South Africa. At the heart of this vital economic activity undertaken by the raisin industry are healthy soils, which the industry is making every effort to preserve.

 

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