Article by: Hari Yellina
Saffron planting has recently expanded in South Africa, with 22 hectares now planted across all nine provinces, with the majority focused in the arid Northern Cape. Saffron (Crocus sativa) is more valuable than gold, and with yields ranging from 1 to 5 kg per hectare, depending on soil and climate, a farmer can earn a lot of money by planting a little area. Furthermore, in the correct temperature, three harvests per year are feasible, while the bulbs themselves triple in size. The importance of including a saffron component in the rest of a farm’s divisions is obvious to Laeveld Agrochem, a South African crop optimization firm.
Farmers receive saffron bulbs, as well as soil analysis and professional aid in the growing of the spice. The saffron harvest is subsequently purchased by Laeveld Agrochem from the grower (the stigma already removed from the flower, a very time-consuming activity). The main catalysts behind the recent formation of a saffron business in South Africa have been Laeveld Agrochem and Saffricon. According to Vincent Keesenberg, export and marketing director of Origin Fruit in Pretoria, South Africa, the previous year’s crop was sold to local retailers, but with volumes rising as the number of plantings increases, this product deserves to be better known among buyers looking for pure, unadulterated saffron.
“We checked the quality of our saffron and found it to be of great grade,” he says. “However, South African saffron is not yet well-known.” “Interested purchasers can obtain the quality test results.” Saffron would be ideal for exporting in 1kg, 2kg, and 5kg increments for repackaging at the destination. According to Vincent, the only criterion for an interested farmer would be sandy, free-draining soil, and as a result, saffron has already attracted several Limpopo table grape farmers. Saffron is a potent antioxidant that is valued for its health advantages as well as its colour, which is used in dyes.