South Africa: Value-adding boosts hydroponics venture

Just under 20 years ago, Basil Williams began dabbling in herbs under shade netting in his mother’s backyard at Kylemore in the Western Cape.

“At that stage, I was working on fynbos at the Agricultural Research Council in Stellenbosch. That’s where my love for plants started,” he recalls.

In 2007, he received a grant from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture to expand production near Pniel. The following year, however, he suffered a setback when his structures were damaged by wind.

Undeterred, he pressed on, and his persistence paid off: in 2012, he received help from the state’s Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme, and was able to expand Herbal View Hydroponics and slowly start improving his business.

Today, his farming enterprise is far removed from the shade netting in his mother’s backyard. He operates the business on 1ha of rented farmland at Donkerhoek Farm in Simondium, cultivating herbs in six plastic tunnels, under shade netting, and in open fields.

Read more at Farmer's Weekly (Jeandré van der Walt)

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