The cold winters and deep, sandy soil on Albert Bouwmeester’s farm in Gauteng are ideal for pecan production.
Bouwmeester manages to prune carefully to maximize nut production and tree health.
Pecan consumption is on the rise worldwide, with the US being the biggest producer.
As far as long-term investments go, few crops require more patience than pecans: a producer has to wait 12 years before enjoying a return on investment. Albert Bouwmeester Snr, therefore, saw pecans as an ideal retirement project and established a 21ha orchard on the farm Elandsdraai in Cullinan, Gauteng, in 1975.
As his retirement drew near, however, he found the winter harvesting period tiring, so he increasingly involved his son, Albert Jnr, in the activities of the farm. The latter’s energy and enthusiasm for the enterprise saw him buying his father’s stake in the business, expanding the orchards, and erecting processing facilities.
Today, Bouwmeester Jnr has 55ha under pecans and, every year, processes and markets 350t of these nuts, comprising his own crop and those of other farmers in the area.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT VARIETY
According to Bouwmeester, there are orchards in the US that are flourishing after more than 100 years.
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