Text and photographs: Carmé Naudé
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in partnership with California farm organizations and research institutions traveled to the Western Cape during August to build international collaborations with South African partners and share best practices related to climate-smart technologies for specialty crop growers.
The delegation met with Hortgro’s Executive Director Anton Rabe in Paarl to discuss technologies used by the deciduous fruit industry during the recent drought and water shortages. Rabe introduced the delegation to our fruit industry structures and explained our main focus areas such as production, research, trade and markets and transformation. “We need to look at policies for climate change,” Rabe said.
The discussion focused primarily on drought and how our producers adapted to water shortages and production practices that were applied and will be applied in the future also. Hugh Campbell, General Manager of Hortgro Science, mentioned that producers are aware of production per cubic meter water, in addition to tons per hectare and are now focusing on producing and planting higher yield cultivars.
The group continued their tour to Sandrivier Landgoed where they took a closer look at how resources are managed on the ground level. The visit allows California agricultural representatives to meet directly with specialty crop growers, research institutions, farm organizations and government representatives in South Africa to advance farm strategies and management practices for more sustainable crop production.
During the visit, U.S. and South African experts from two of the world’s top five Global Mediterranean climates will focus on shared production challenges, such as drought and climate variability, and methods to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.