Suggestions for Commercial Herb Growing in South Africa
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Marquerite
Posted on: February 13, 2006

We have a farm in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa, where we are likely to grow herbs for commercial use. As this province is a little far from industries, fresh market, etc. we are looking at a herb that can be dried, harvest for oil, seed and the product then send to industries. Our region have very high summer temp. 40C and a low summer rainfall in the form of thunder storms. In winter it is cold up to 0C with very dry conditions and frost occasionally. Is it possible that you can give us more information about herbs that can be planted and have a value on the market? Will the book that you published on herb growing be an asset to our condition or is there other information or contacts that will be of more value?

Selecting crops for specific regions of South Africa must take into account a number of variables. This would include soil types, available capital equipment, and future market needs. It would not make sense to cultivate a seed like Coriander if you did not have a combine available. Further, you also must be sure that there will be a growing market for this crop when it does come into production.

Custom farming is where you may not necessary own the needed capital equipment but it is available in the community. Many farmers like to use their equipment on other crops than their own, generating further incomes on the use of their equipment. Often many of their crops require specialized equipment for harvesting, drying, and processing.

Often, farming means something quite different to different regions. California farmer generally hold less that 40 acres on specific crops, while in Iowa a farm might have 2,000 acres under cultivation with a single crop. Cottage Industries are where the crop is used to make something else prior to leaving the farm. All of these aspects must be defined as part of the crop selection process.

I recommend you first read my book "The Potential Of Herbs As A Cash Crop." This gives an overview of the various aspects of growing and marketing herbs. Then read my book "Getting Started," available at This helps you begin crop selections and marketing directions.

If you want help developing your business plan, I am also available as an outside consultant.

I also have a number of useful articles zand references for further study on your own at

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