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Become a farming entrepreneur in South Africa – What type of farmer are you?

The agricultural landscape is constantly changing. With every advancement in technology comes a shift in the way we farm. Combine that with evolving consumer trends and the climate crisis and the result is new and innovative spaces for entrepreneurs within the agricultural industry.

No matter what, there will always be the need for agriculture. So, if you are an eager entrepreneur with an eye on the farming industry, find out some of the options that are available to you.

Urban farming

This type of farming venture has become more and more popular- in Johannesburg in particular. Urban agriculture solves two major hurdles to farming entrepreneurs in South Africa: access to land and access to markets.

The inner-city in Johannesburg has seen small food growing ventures pop up all around it. There are increasingly imaginative ways that people are growing food on limited space and this seems set to be the future of the food industry.

Business opportunities abound for people in South African cities when it comes to urban farming.

Companies like Future Farms are creating secure business models around the potential that exists for urban farming. Future Farms designs and manages hydroponic systems that can be used on rooftops, in containers or warehouses.

Arise and Shine Greenerversity is another thriving Urban farming business that uses hydroculture to grow plants. Everything they grow is delivered daily to their customers.

Solar or wind farming

Renewable energy is a sector that is getting a lot of attention from investors and inventors alike. Solar and wind farms are growing in number globally and, with the unreliable energy sector in South Africa, this is an ideal business opportunity for entrepreneurs.

The country has great sun and wind resources which would make the energy produced in this way affordable. Of course, projects like these do need a lot of space. So, if you are hoping to jump into this industry, finding the right farm with a huge area would be necessary.

Bee farming

Honeybees are big business, but they are also an essential part of South Africa’s eco-system. More than 50 of the country’s top crops are pollinated by honeybees.

The weather conditions are ideal for beekeeping and bee products can also be sold for a healthy profit. This is a great business opportunity; however, you will need to have passion and access to capital to cover the costs of establishing your farm as it can be costly.

However, there are development programmes available to aspiring honeybee farmers that will assist in your training. They will also supply you with the tools that are needed to get started.

Indigenous crops

In the globalising of trade, there are a lot of traditional flavours and ingredients that have been forgotten. Local Village Foods is a South African start up that is changing this. This start-up sources its products from small-scale farms, packages it and then markets the products.

There are a lot of opportunities to focus on these local indigenous crops on your farm. Crops like teff that is naturally gluten free, Bambara groundnut or Roselle that is considered a superfood.

Livestock

Livestock farming doesn’t have to follow the traditional mould. There are plenty of people with land that are turning to crowdfunding to finance their livestock. This might sound strange, but it has been a business model proving successful.

Investors buy a young calf and then pay a fee for the farming that is required. This way, people who don’t own land are able to own livestock.

Another trend in livestock farming in South Africa is that of grass-fed beef. Consumers are choosing grass fed beef as a healthier alternative while many farmers opt for this type of farming because of the ease of this option for communal farmers.

By Anthea Taylor

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