Alternative Crops and Ideas for the Entire Western Cape. Taylor, S. (2009). 


Globally climate change is accelerating (IPCC AR41) and African countries are being urged to start adapting now.Africa has been warned in various international documents and studies that its agriculture is highly at risk from changes to the climate. South Africa‟s agriculture sector is also at risk, especially in the western areas (soil moisture map).The agricultural sector is already characterized by high exposure to risk. Risks in agriculture are grouped into two main groups: Price risks (trade issue) and production risks (climatic conditions, pests and diseases) and also other risks (eg. Changes in the markets, opportunities for organic produce, major switches in consumer demand like the margarine versus butter issue, etc).Now there is climate change added, which looks to create long term threats and opportunities for the agricultural sector.As well as commercial agriculture and its contribution to the provincial GDP, subsistence agriculture is also at risk, and needs attention in terms of an Adaptation Plan for farming in the Western Cape.

Full Document. 

Conservation Farming in Rooibos Tea. Department of Agriculture Western Cape (2015).

This is an ongoing project from the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. During 2003 Rooibos BPK extended an enquiry to the SRM to find a solution for the declining and unsustainable production of rooibos on soils which proved to become exhausted. The solution to address the declining production was found in tailor made conservation tillage methodologies. With no custom fit implements available to the rooibos farmers, the SRM in collaboration with producers embarked with an initiative to develop an environmental friendly and sustainable conservation tillage solution. These methodologies already indicate 50% savings on diesel and mechanisation costs. 

Complete project note & contact details. 


The Effect of Rhizobium Inoculation and Application of Bacillus and Used in Combination With a Nutrient Rich Substrate on the Root Percentage and Development in Honeybush (Cyclopia spp.). Bester, C.; Hoffman, L.; Karsen, P.A. & Valentine, A. Department of Agriculture Western Cape; Stellenbosch University & ARC (2014). 


Honeybush (Cyclopia spp.), a nitrogen fixing legume endemic to the Eastern and Western Cape of South. The rooting percentage of cuttings are variable and the transplanting of the cuttings rate is low. This study aims to explain the rooting percentage and root development of Cyclopia spp. Cutting inoculation with rhizobium is routinely used in nursery practices. Rhizocell (Bacillus spp.) stimulates root growth, helps with phosphorus solubilisation and enables plants to overcome salinity. Nutrient rich medium will provide macro and micro elements for the Bacillus spp growth.

Project summary & contact details. 

Flower Valley Conservation Trust Sustainable Harvesting Programme (2014).

The Sustainable Harvesting Programme – a voluntary programme for land owners and fynbos harvesters – works to ensure fynbos is picked responsibly, fynbos landscapes are carefully managed and social and labour best practice principles are maintained. This protects the fynbos, while securing decent jobs for harvesters in the fynbos industry - to achieve true sustainability. Flower Valley Conservation Trust is the custodian of the Programme, and the Trust works closely with CapeNature (the conservation authority responsible for providing permits to pick fynbos in the wild) and Cape Flora SA, the industry body.

Full document.


The propagation of the carob tree (Ceratonia seliqua) for commercial and resource poor farmers. Deparment of Agriculture Western Cape (2014).

The carob project was to develop a protocol for the germination of carob seed. The seed were pretreated with hot water, sulphuric acid and smoke water at different concentrations and time applications. The initial experiment had a high rate of contamination. Thus the seed were surface sterilised in future trials.

Full report.


Realizing the Benefits of Beekeeping Development Projects in the Western Cape.  Schmitt, B. University of Cape Town 2014. 


Addressing unemployment, maintaining biodiversity, and filling market void for honey; beekeeping development projects are well suited to address all of this and more. Semi structure interviews of funders, service providers and participants were used to investigate two different beekeeping development projects in the Western Cape. This research was able to identify the tangible benefits such as; establishing a cooperative, brand identity, income, certified skills, and business relationships. The research also identified intangible benefits; leadership, enthusiasm, self-confidence, pride, environmental appreciation. Through the research process standout findings and observations included the importance of prior experience and commitment to participant continuity. The differing views of those involved with the project were also of note; funders focus on capacity while participants were striving for outcomes. This investigation is far from broad enough, but offers an insightful look at two development beekeeping projects and how their past may echo in similar projects.

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Production Guidelines for African Leafy Vegetables. WRC 2012.

This project developed an integrated modeling approach to the prediction of agricultural NPS pollution from field- to catchment-scale for phosphorous, nitrogen, pesticides and sediments. A project team consisting of four individual Task Teams, comprising of one or more specialists within each of the domains of agricultural nutrients, sediments, pesticides, field-scale bio-physical modelling, catchment-scale bio-physical modelling, and agricultural economics, report on their activities in a series of five reports, namely: • WRC Report No TT 516/12 entitled Modelling Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution and Economic-Environmental Trade-offs of Control Measures. • WRC Report No 1516/1/12 entitled Modelling Nitrogen and Phosphorus Dynamics in Cropping Systems at the Field Scale. • WRC Report No 1516/2/12 Modelling the Fate of Pesticides: Primary Processes, Non-Point Source Data Collection and Guidelines • WRC Report No 1516/3/12 Modelling Nutrient and Sediment Dynamics at the Catchment Scale • WRC Report No 1516/4/12 Modelling Economic-Environmental Trade-Offs of Agricultural Non-Point Source Pollution Control Measures

Authors: van der Laan M; Annandale JG; Tesfamariam EH; du Preez CC; Benadé N; Bristow KL; Stirzaker RJ                                     Organizations: Department of Plant Production & Soil Science University of Pretoria; Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences The University of the Free State; Department of Soil Science, University of Stellenbosch; NB Systems; CSIRO Sustainable Agricultural National Research Flagship; Cooperative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures, Australia

Free online registration & full report.


Seasonal Variation in Rooting Ability of Four Clones of Honeybush (C. Genostoides) Cuttings. Department of Agriculture Western Cape (2014).


Currently there are 200 ha of Cyclopia. genistoides (kustee) and C. subternata (vleitee) under cultivation. C. intermedia (bergtee) is the predominate species harvested from the wild. The sustainable harvesting of this wild honeybush is imperative to insure the survival of Cyclopia species as wild harvested honeybush takes 3-4 years to rejuvenate for the next harvest. Thus the cultivation of honeybush will insure the quality of the tea and increase tea volumes.

The aim of this work was to compare the seasonal variation and root ability of two clones that were pruned back heavily in summer 2013 and two that were not.

Project summary. 


The evaluation of potential inter row cover crops for weed suppression in rooibos production systems. Department of Agriculture Western Cape 2013.

Problem identification

Hansen (2006) reported that a strong need among rooibos producers is for research to be undertaken in order to determine the requirements for sustainable production of rooibos. However, to date, certain aspects such as the use of cover crops had been overlooked. The aim of this research project will therefore be to study the interactions of leguminous/grass cover crops mixtures on weeds, using serradella, lupine, vetch, barley, oats and rye, on the population of natural weed infestations and rooibos plant production. In addition, with the expected increase in living organisms due to higher levels of plant material, the number and type of pests and diseases will also be studied. The major goal of this research will ultimately be to provide rooibos producers with scientific information on how to grow cover crop mixtures in an integrated weed management system...

Complete project note. 


Sustainable Rooibos Initiative: A Sustainable Production Strategy for the South African Rooibos Tea Industry. Hansen,T. CapeNature & SA Rooibos Council (2006).

In response to the exponential growth of Rooibos exports and the concerning rate of transformation of endangered habitat in the Greater Cederberg Biodiversity Corridor (GCBC), CapeNature & the South African Rooibos Council have joined forces to develop and implement a Biodiversity Strategy for the South African Rooibos Tea Industry. The pilot area is the GCBC where the vast majority of Rooibos is currently produced. Such a strategy can only be effective in the long term if it fits within the broad definition of Sustainable Development. Therefore, the Strategy has incorporated the four dimensions of sustainable development and has been named the Sustainable Rooibos Initiative (SRI).

Full report.