The market for avocados has been growing rapidly, and many South African growers are jumping into this market. Avocados can be produced 12 months a year and because there are limited avocados available in South Africa from October February there is a huge shortage and therefore people are prepared to pay crazy prices.
Greater levels of dispensable income, together with generic promotion and an awareness of the importance of healthy eating, have increased the demand for quality avocados. There has also been growth in the upper income group that is willing to pay high prices for value added products. Consequently, there is strong growth in the sales of avocados that are sold ripe and ready to eat.
MAJOR PRODUCTION AREAS
Avocado production in South Africa is concentrated mainly in the subtropical areas of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and parts of KZN. Production in these provinces are as follows:
Limpopo Province – 59% of the national production.
Mpumalanga Province – 3% of the national production.
KZN Province – 8% of the national production.
Pear shaped, small to medium or a little larger; skin slightly rough to touch, with many small yellow dots. It is an early mid-season bearer, has an excellent flavour and is susceptible to fungal diseases.
Pear shaped to ovoid; has a tendency to be undersized, except in New Zealand; skin tough, leathery, dark purple or nearly black when ripe. Mid-late season, medium sized fruit with good shipping qualities. Excellent taste and increasingly popular with the European market.
Pear shaped; medium size, skin medium- rough; flesh of fair quality. Tree large and bears regularly but not as heavily as Fuerte or Hass. Late Season, large seed, medium vigour tree.
Early crop, roundish, late, pear shaped with neck; medium size, skin medium- leathery. Rated as of good quality but inferior to Hass and Fuerte; tends to darken in the latter part of the season. Mid season, high yielding, occasionally post-harvest problems after storage.
Round; medium to large (227 – 510g) skin slightly rough; medium – thick, faintly nutty flavour; does not darken when cut and rated as excellent quality. It bears early regularly; and is sensitive to cold.
Pear shaped; medium size; skin olive green, slightly rough, flesh of high quality, nutty flavour and rated as excellent.Cultivar is disease resistant.
Commercial avocado cultivars are best suited to cool, subtropical conditions with average daily temperatures between 20 and 25C. Light frost can be tolerated but not during flowering and fruit set (August to September). Average temperatures during flowering and fruit set should preferably be above 18C.
All avocado cultivars that are grown commercially in SA are known to be sensitive to water stress. A well distributed rainfall in excess of 1000 mm p.a. is desirable, although most avocado production regions experience a dry period during flowering. In the vast majority of cases, therefore, supplementary irrigation during this period is essential.
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SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. A Swot Analysis is a simple but powerful tool helping businesses to develop their business strategy, whether a start=up business or an existing company.
Strengths and Weaknesses – are internal to a company – things that you have some control over and can change.
Opportunities and Threats – are external to a company – things that are going on outside your company, in the larger market and that you do not have control over.
HOW TO DO A SWOT ANALYSIS
Doing a SWOT Analysis is similar to a brainstorm session, with right and wrong ways to run them. A good idea is to give everyone a pad of “sticky – notes” and have them quietly generate ideas on their own to start things off. This will prevent group-think and ensures that all voices are heard.
After about 15 min of private brainstorming, put all sticky-notes up on the wall and group similar ideas together. Once all ideas are organized, it is time to rank the ideas according to their importance. The list is now up for discussion and debate, and someone in the room should be able to make the final call on the priority (usually the CEO) but could be delegated to someone else.
SWOT ANALYSIS EXAMPLE
Management Skills of owner.
Lack of Financial Skills.
Strong Entrepreneurial spirit of the business owner.
Lack of comprehensive accounting system.
The existence of untapped markets.
Higher Eskom tariffs may affect the business.
Opportunity to enhance sales via internet marketing.
Threats from well-established competitors.
With the SWOT Analysis completed, you’re ready to convert it into real strategy. The first step is to look at your strengths and figure out how you can use those strengths to take advantage of your opportunities. Then look at how your strengths can combat the threats that are in the market. Use this list to produce a list of actions that you can take.
With your action list you can look at your company calendar and start placing goals (or milestones) on it. What exactly do you want to accomplish in each ca lender quarter (or month) moving forward. You also want to do this by analyzing how external opportunities might help you combat your own, internal weaknesses.
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Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture in a recirculating system and hydroponics (the soil-less cultivation of plants). The plant crop utilise the waste (nutrients) released by the farmed fish to grow hydroponically and the crops in turn purify the water for reuse by the fish or other aquatic creatures. Simply put, aquaponics is growing fish and plants together.
START – UP COSTS
The aquaponic tunnel system will cost anything between R300 000 – R500000 to erect. However, the running and maintenance costs are relatively low. Only one manager and a laborer is needed. Plants and fish are produced from the same fish feed, and the system requires only 1.62kw of electricity, excluding heating costs. A 3.3kw heat pump can be installed, but will only be used during winter times. Water usage is relatively low at about 2000L per week in summer and approximately half of that in winter. Little space is needed to erect a facility.
IS AQUAPONICS APPROPRIATE TO THE SA MARKET?
The SA climate suits this type of farming, thanks to high average solar energy and appropriate mean temperatures. The challenge of relatively mild local winters can be met with low energy-requirement heat pumps to maintain aquaculture tank temperatures. The development of ever-cheaper solar power with storage for small systems will effectively benefit the agro- industry, particularly smaller-scale operations.
IS AQUAPONICS ORGANIC?
Aquaponics is totally organic. The Aquaponics process is a natural interaction between fish and the plants that produces no toxic waste, and does not use any chemical fertilizers or nutrients. Both the plants and the fish contribute to the cycling process of Aquaponics, with the grower using this interaction to their benefit – the fish provide the nutrients for the plants and the plants filter the water so that the fish are able to live.Natural chemicals and the fish food are the only additives to the aquaponics system.
DOES AQUAPONICS NEED A GREENHOUSE?
A greenhouse is not an essential part of an aquaponics system, although it provides enormous protection for the system compared to being exposed to the elements (rain, hail, wind etc). If you live in an area where it gets cold during winter, a greenhouse is needed for the protection of the fish and plants during the colder months. Aquaponics systems can also be set up indoors, using grow lights over the plants instead of using sunlight. However, this system uses more power than a greenhouse system due to the cost of running the lights.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AQUAPONICS?
Reduced water use.
Reduced chemical use.
Reduces pesticides use when set up in a greenhouse.
Reduces erosion by eliminating the need to plough the soil.
Reducing running costs compared to conventional horticultural farming.
Can produce fish and plants for the family/grower all year round, using a greenhouse.
TO ENABLE YOU TO SET UP A AQUAPONICS FARMING SYSTEM YOU WILL NEED A PROFESSIONAL AND BANKABLE FARM BUSINESS PLAN.
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The special events industry has grown enormously during the past decade. According to resent research conducted by Dr. Joe Goldblatt (Certified Special Events Professional) spending for special events worldwide is $500 billion annually. “Suffice it is to say, the market is large enough to support and sustain your endeavor”, says Goldblatt. If you’re working in one special events area, there are many directions in you can expand. If you’re just entering the profession of special events, there is a lucrative market awaiting you on many fonts.
WHAT IS EVENT PLANNING?
This question actually breaks down into 2 questions: What kind of events are we talking about? and what is event planning? Generally speaking, special events occur for the following purposes:-
Celebrations – fairs, parades, weddings, reunions, birthdays, anniversaries.
Education – conferences, meetings, graduations.
Promotions – product launches, political rallies, fashion shows.
Commemorations – memorials, civic events.
This list isn’t an exhaustive one, but as the examples illustrate, special events may be business related, purely social or somewhere in between. Second Question: What is event planning? Planners of an event may handle any or all of the following tasks related to that event:-
Creating an event design.
Finding a site.
Arranging for food, decor and entertainment.
Planning transportation to and from the event.
Sending invitations to attendees.
Arranging any necessary accommodations for attendees.
Coordinating the activities of event personnel.
Supervising at the site.
Conducting evaluations of the event.
WHY DO PEOPLE HIRE EVENT PLANNERS?
The question has a simple answer: Individuals often find they lack the expertise and time to plan events themselves. Independent planners can step in and give these special events the attention they deserve.
Broadly speaking, there are two markets for event planning services: Corporate and Social. The term corporate includes not only companies but also charities and non-profit organizations. Charities and non-profit organizations host gala fundraisers, receptions and athletic competitions, among other events, to expand their public support base and to raise funds.
Social events include weddings, birthdays, anniversary parties, sweet 16 parties, children’s parties, reunions and so on. You may decide to handle all of these events or just specialize in one of more of them. The market for social events, especially birthdays and anniversaries, is expected to continue to increase over the next few years, as baby boomers mature. This group has children getting married, parents celebrating golden anniversaries, and their own silver wedding anniversaries to commemorate.
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Tunnel farming has been around in South Africa for almost 4 decades. In the 70’s it was found that vegetables could be successfully grown without soil by using nutrient based solutions. Furthermore, great success was achieved by covering the plants with a plastic-clad semi-circular structure, dubbed a “tunnel”.
Tunnels may also be called, high hoops, high tunnels or poly tunnels. Tunnels are some times confused with “greenhouses”. The key difference is that tunnels are not heated and provide less climate control and are also less expensive. In South Africa, heating is not as critical as other climates such as in European countries. This immediately gives tunnel farming a competitive advantage over establishment costs.
There are many advantages to using this method of cultivating plants. The plants are grown in plastic tunnels in a growth medium other than natural soil. The plants get a constant flow of nutrients as they are dissolved in the irrigated water system thus creating large and high quality crops.
ADVANTAGES OF TUNNEL FARMING:-
High quality products.
No soil is needed.
Plants get a constant supply of nutrients through an automatic irrigation system.
Able to produce larger yields of vegetables on a small area of land.
Soil borne diseases are reduced or eliminated.
ADVANTAGES OF VEGETABLE PRODUCTION:-
* Soil preparation and weeding is reduced or eliminated.
* One does not need good soil to grow vegetables.
* Water is used efficiently.
* Pollution of soil with unused nutrients is greatly reduced.
* It is possible to produce very high yields of vegetables on a small area because an environment optimal for plant growth is created. All the nutrients add water that the plants need, are available at all times.
The most important issues to consider before constructing a tunnel are the location, available budget and potential crops. When considering where to locate your first tunnel, it is wise to plan for expansion. Also consider the market area and the number of plants you expect to grow. Include space for roadways, parking lots, packaging, storage and sales.
Other considerations include orientation, airflow, shading, windbreaks,weeds, drainage and other pests. Make sure to consider how irrigation and power will be delivered to the tunnel, including during winter months if winter production is intended.
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