Our nursery plot was established at the outset to enable us to test a variety of alternative crops for their suitability for inclusion in our agri-businesses. The successful cultivation of a variety of culinary herbs in the nursery plot has prompted us to expand this facility so as to test crops on a larger scale and under less ‘protected’ conditions. The original nursery has provided us with the parent stock for this expansion.

Our project manager, Phumzile, taking cuttings from the parent stock in the nursery

A large piece of land was cleared (by hand). Raised beds were created and cuttings from the parent stock were planted

The success of this project depends in large part on ensuring a market for our produce. We have secured buyers for all of our dried lemongrass and we are working on opportunities to sell the fresh lemongrass stems.

Before moving ahead with our crop diversification (eg. origanum, rosemary, thyme, marjorum, ginger), we explored markets for these plants – both in terms of fresh / dried herbs and essential oil extracts. At this stage (and with the information we have at hand) we are considering delaying essential oil production until we have established and saturated the market with our fresh and/or dried products. This appears to be a niche that we are well suited to fill.