What is the size of the crocodile industry in South Africa?
The exact number of crocodile farms is not known, because each province issues its own permits for keeping crocodiles in captivity. In 2016, the veterinary faculty at the University of Pretoria carried out a survey of crocodile farms in South Africa and arrived at an estimated 85 facilities in existence. The production data collected from 45 of the largest commercial crocodile farms, responsible for more than 80% of total production output, indicated a breeding population of approximately 20 000 adult animals, producing an average of 165 000 hatchlings annually. Statistics show that only 68 000 skins, or 40%, are exported.
The balance do not achieve the minimum quality required for export and the reptiles are slaughtered and consumed locally, sold live to new entrants, or used as breeding stock.
How would you describe general conditions within the industry?
Two prime products are derived from commercial crocodile farming. First are the belly skins, with crocodile leather being considered the finest of all exotic leathers; these are predominantly used for belts, shoes, wallets and handbags. Second is crocodile meat, for which there is a local market.
World trade in Nile crocodile [Crocodylus niloticus] skins averages approximately 240 000 skins annually. The Nile skin trade comprises 30% of total world trade in classic crocodile skins, which consists of Alligator spp, C. niloticus, C. porosus (saltwater crocodile) and C. siamensis (Siamese crocodile) skins. As noted, South Africa exports on average 68 000 skins per annum; this represents 28% of total Nile skins traded and 9% of total world classic skins traded.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Taking the sting out of the drought
Living through long periods of minimal rainfall has become a way of life for many farmers in various parts of South Africa. Brett Walker, who farms mixed livestock in the Eastern Cape, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the various ways in which he alleviates the impact of the ongoing seven-year drought in the region.
The basics of bull management
The money-maker in the herd is the bull, says eastern Free State Simbra breeder Rick Dell. He spoke to Annelie Coleman about the management and selection of breeding bulls for commercial cattle herds.
Living the organic farming fantasy in the Western Cape Winelands
Following the rebuilding of Tulbagh after the 1969 earthquake, Brian Berkman has discovered that this historic town is experiencing yet another revival with trendy art galleries and farm-to-table dining.
Benefits of irrigating with wastewater
A recent study by Dr James Meyer, a private consultant, and Dr Rian Pierneef, a researcher in bioinformatics at the Agricultural Research Council’s Biotechnology Platform, found that wastewater from piggeries significantly increased the microbial diversity of soil. Pieter Dempsey spoke to the researchers.
The pros and cons of drip irrigation
Drip irrigation saves water and electricity, but is not suitable for all crop types. So make sure you end up with the right system, says Bill Kerr.
Groote Post: channelling a crisis into an opportunity
In 2020, South Africa’s wine industry encountered an unusual challenge: a ban on the sale of alcohol as part of the fight against COVID-19. This crisis spurred Groote Post, a family-run wine farm outside Darling, to blend its Internet savvy and tourism offerings with its tradition of winemaking and selling. The farm’s Nick and Peter Pentz spoke to Jeandre van der Walt.
How composting works
Composting speeds up the natural decay of organic material by providing the ideal conditions for detritus-eating organisms to thrive. The result is nutrient-rich soil that helps plants grow.
A formula for successful fynbos production
Nico Thuynsma’s love for all things floral and horticultural, and fynbos in particular, led him to establish a nursery and cut flower operation in the Cullinan area of Gauteng, where he produces proteas and other types of fynbos. Pieter Dempsey spoke to him about his passion for growing these plants.
A charming countryside guest house
Ellas in Greyton offers exceptional food, lovely views and wonderful hospitality, says Brian Berkman.
Over-irrigating costs you money in terms of water and electricity, and may lower your crops’ potential. Under-irrigating is also detrimental. Learn to irrigate properly and at the optimal time, says Bill Kerr.