Our next visit was to meet with Ian Veldsman in Hazyview in the foothills of the Drakensburg mountains
Ian is a Zimbabwean farmer who seems very dynamic and can put his hand to anything. At the moment he is a Macadamia grower. So the first evening we got to him he organised us a tour around Golden Macadamias.
Golden Macadamias is the biggest processing factory of Macadamias in the world. It was bought by farmers some years ago and is run as a coop and has kept growing since. At the moment the factory is in shut down as it is the off season
The harvesting season is from April to November and during that period this plant is running 24/7. It is all about adding value to the Macadamias and getting as much revenue for their shareholders as possible. This means no stone is unturned and it seems to be run with military precision.
The next morning we had a look around Ian’s farm. We first looked I his shed where is sorts and dries the Macadamias at harvest. They come in at 22% mc and he dries them to 10%.
Above are his drying bins and underneath he loads up trailers. An eight tonne trailer is worth about £22,000! Ian harvests about 65t per year. Then we saw his new cropping project
Ian is intercropping ginger with Macadamias. He has tried it before and had trouble with quality of seed. He now hopes to harvest 40-50t per hectare of ginger this year at about £3.90 per kilo. The seed was very expensive to start with. When we got their Ian was very excited to show us his infrastructure project. As power supply here is expensive and intermittent he is now installing a ram pump
This will allow him to be water independent and was going to cost him only about £3000. A ram pump takes a head of water. For every one meter of head you have you can pump back uphill 10m. Ian has seven metres head. For every 4l of water that rush into the pump, one litre gets pushed uphill. Ian has plenty of water from a canal
Now he will be able to pump it upto a 550,000l reservoir and it continually irrigate his crops without any power!
After that we visited Ian’s friend Adam Wood
Adam is also a Macadamia grower. He has 72ha in Hazyview and his brother has 150ha in Tzaneen. Below is Adam’s sprayer for Macs and the view of his farm
I do not joke but these guys are farming on seriously sloping ground. Glad I am not their sprayer operator. Below is a macadamia nut
The biggest problem they have with Macadamias is the Stink Bug. This bug is resistant to pyrethroids and so they have to use harsher insecticides to control them. Adam is very aware of the problem and is trying biological control and they are desperately looking for a catch crop. Their best option is chlorpyrphos at 10,000l of water per hectare. Not a sustainable practice.
We had a great time with Ian. He has a diversified operation and he is always looking at new projects. His wife also owns a fast food restaurant in town. Thanks to Ian and his family for looking after us and helping us get into Kruger Park.