Farming in Grahamstown
by Nicholas Neveling
Forced to adapt to unpredictable weather and lengthy
dry spells, Albany farmers have always been prepared
to experiment with unconventional projects. This has
resulted in the diverse and interesting types of farming
in the area, including johoba oil, tropical fish, and
a herb farm.
There are also more standard ventures in the region.
Stock farming is the most popular with meat and skins
from cattle, boer goats and sheep being distributed
to local agents and centres. Wool of the highest international
quality for export is farmed on the Highlands Ridge.
Ostrich farmers have tapped into the international market
too. There is a tannery and an abattoir in town exclusively
set up to process ostrich products, with the meat exported
to Europe and skins to Japan. There is also a state
of the art fish farm which breeds 80 species of the
most expensive and exclusive fish from the East African
Lakes. These fish are highly sought after overseas and
are exported to Germany and the Far East.
Due to the unreliable rainfall and poor soil quality,
crop farming occurs on a smaller scale, with pineapple
and chicory being the most successful. The Eastern Cape
is the second largest and most southerly pineapple producing
region in the Southern Hemisphere.
The burgeoning eco-tourism industry flourishes in the
Grahamstown region. Many farmers have opened guesthouses
for those tired of hotel franchises and flashy cities.
The untouched beauty, tranquil atmosphere and personal
attention offered on farms give visitors a unique holiday
experience. Certain ostrich, dairy and pineapple farms
run tours where visitors can experience the processes
involved in day to day farming first hand. See the Adventure
Guide details of farm tours.