Potchefstroom – South Africa’s ground nuts are very popular in overseas markets and present producers with an opportunity to cater to a niche market.
This is according to a ground nut agronomist at the Agricultural Research Council’s Grain Crops Institute, Lorraine Muller. She says for this reason they also place a lot of emphasis on quality when doing cultivar evaluations.
“The quality is especially important because we have a niche market in the international export markets. A lot of the exporters specifically ask for our South African Spanish type of ground nut.
“So we are popular overseas. All we need to do is deliver a consistent supply to them.”
Commenting on reports of seed shortages this year, she says with last year’s harvest of only about 18 000 tons, this was unfortunately a reality.
“There is a shortage in the country. The farmers who are planting put in requests for seed well in advance so that they could plant this season.
“I can tell you I have had numerous calls from people asking whether or not there is still seed available. So it has been a tough year in terms of seed availability.”
Muller says the crop does particularly well in South Africa’s warmer regions. Time is running out for producers to put a crop in the ground, though, as the optimal planting time stretches from end-October to December 5.