• Vegetables offer a unique market for the South African producer since they are a basic requirement of every person.
  • Vegetables play a central role in addressing food security and providing nutritional supplements and requirements to people.
  • Vegetable production is largely driven by the expansion of the domestic market and is important for job creation and food security. It has been placed in the quadrant of having both high-growth potential AND being labour intensive (Sihlobo, 2018).

International business environment

Find international news on vegetables at www.freshplaza.com.

South Africa exports and imports

Top vegetables exports in 2019: butternut (37%), onions (34%), carrots (8%), pumpkins (9%), potatoes (8%) and sweet potatoes (6%) (FPEF, 2020).

Getting started in Precision agriculture (Queensland Agriculture, 2020), demonstrated on vegetable farm

Local business environment

  • South Africa is self-sufficient with regard to vegetable production.
  • In 2015, the then Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries estimated that 46% of vegetables were sold through the fresh produce markets, 42% through direct sales and own consumption, 10% processed, and a small percentage (2%) of vegetables being exported.
  • A significant proportion of the total workforce in the vegetable supply chain is composed of people who are low skilled and/or minimum wage labourers. These range from farm labourers or subsistence growers to the multipliers in the value chain i.e. transporting vegetables; working in processing plants, packaging factories, supermarkets or fast food outlets; or working as informal traders.
Source: Agricultural Policy Action Plan 2015, page 38


Further reference:

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands study The Current State of Fruit & Vegetable Agro-Processing in South Africa (February 2019) can be found at https://agbiz.co.za/uploads/AgbizNews19/190215_Current-state-of-agro-processing-in%20SA.pdf

Find the market value chain profile reports for beetroot, cabbage, carrots, garlic, lettuce, onions and sweet potatoes on the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)’s Directorate Marketing pages at www.dalrrd.gov.za.

The Bureau for Food & Agricultural Policy (BFAP) showed how it is out of reach for many South Africans to be aiming for a daily intake of 2 fruits and 3 vegetables, emphasising the importance of “appropriate policy interventions to improve the affordability of healthy food, particularly for lower-income consumers in South Africa” (BFAP, 2017).

African business environment

Prior to Covid-19, vegetable exports into Africa were supported by the relatively higher GDP growth in the sub-Saharan region, coupled by the boldness of retail supermarkets that have expanded into Africa over the past two decades. These countries were forecast to grow their GDP significantly faster than South Africa and the trends of urbanisation and the inevitable switch from informal to formal retail meant that supermarkets not in South Africa would continue to deliver growth in excess of what can be achieved in South Africa.

Source:  ABSA Agricultural Outlook 2017(adpated)

For the newcomer

Producing vegetables is a farming activity which needs to be planned well. It is a business in that it involves finances such as buying, selling and the management of funds.

  • You must plan in order to decide which crops to plant and to know which actions to perform at specific times, e.g. fertilising, planting, irrigating, weeding, trellising, harvesting and distributing. It is important to plan twice a year as different crops require planting in different seasons.
  • How to plan: (1) Use a year planner and a calendar to organise your actions. (2) Obtain knowledge and decide on implements, workers, pest and disease control and market prices (3) Find out when the market prices will be at their best.
  • Remember to rotate your crops and never to plant the same or closely related crops on the same soil during the next planting season. Crop rotation prevents poor soil and it prevents pests and diseases.

A well-planned vegetable production results in better profits, higher yields, healthy vegetables and happy families.

Source: Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) booklet “Vegetable production”

The vegetable market is unregulated and technically open to all producers. The fluid and uncertain nature of the market has led retailers to enter contracts with large growers at the beginning of the season so as to ensure a specific range of vegetables in accordance with predetermined schedules. These arrangements have seen a declining role for municipal markets and make it difficult for small, new producers to gain access to the major supermarkets.


In spite of these arrangements, opportunities for the supply of small quantities of produce to a range of outlets do exist. SPAR, Lombardi Foods, the traders at municipal markets, restaurants, corner shops and hawkers all procure some of their goods opportunistically on an informal spot-market basis from small scale producers. The key in accessing these opportunities is to win the trust of purchasers by demonstrating the ability to produce quality vegetables consistently and to deliver them on time.


Emerging producers are also well placed to supply the burgeoning informal settlement food market, where onions, cabbages, potatoes and squash are a staple and real incomes are increasing.


Organic certification provides a means by which emerging producers can distinguish themselves from the mainstream and reduce the competition for their produce.


The preferential access to water afforded to new producers under the National Water Resource Strategy (2003), National Water Act (1998) provides emerging farmers that have representation on the Catchment Management Agencies with a powerful bargaining chip in collaborations with existing commercial vegetable farmers seeking additional water resources.


Source: South Africa’s Agricultural Commodity Markets by Nomonde Qeqe and Anton Cartwright. Contact the Surplus People’s Project at 021 448 5605 for more information or visit www.spp.org.za.

Further reference:

Find recommended reading under both “Websites & publications” (last heading in this article) and the individual vegetable type headings. Here we will refer to useful, general information when starting out.

Under “Resource Centre” and “Info pak” on the DALRRD website at www.daff.gov.za, find:

Find the guideline “Practical application of vegetable regulations for the local market” under “Resource Centre” at www.daff.gov.za. 

The VEGETABLE PRODUCTION IN KWAZULU-NATAL heading at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents website of the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (KZNDARD) provides general notes on the following crucial factors: Climatic RequirementsExpected YieldsFertilisersImportance of Quality and PresentationInvestigation of Growth ProblemsLength of Growing PeriodMarketingPlanningPlant EstablishmentPlant NutritionPlant Populations & Plant SpacingsPrinciples of Weed, Pest & Disease ManagementSeasonal Variation in PricesSoil PreparationSuccessional CroppingWater Requirements and Irrigation, and Weed Control.


In South Africa, asparagus is mainly grown in Tarlton to the west of Krugersdorp, Eikenhof, south of Johannesburg and the Eastern Free State.


Further reference:

  • Find the DALRRDProduction guidelines Asparagus” under “Resource Centre” and “Brochures and production guidelines” at www.daff.gov.za.
  • From ARC-Agricultural Engineering order “Agro-processing of Root Crops (Asparagus, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potato, ginger, parsnip, kohlrabi, turnips)”. Call 012 842 4017 or visit www.arc.agric.za.


Beetroot, sugar beet and Swiss chard

  • The cultivated form of the plant Beta vulgaris of the goosefoot family (Chenopodiaceae) is one of the most important vegetables. It is a biennial plant with four distinct types that are cultivated for different purposes: (i) Garden beet, beetroot or table beet, as a garden vegetable; (ii) Sugar beet, a major source of sugar; (iii) Mangel-wurzel or mangold, a succulent feed for livestock; and (iv) Leaf beet or Swiss chard for its leaves, which may be eaten or used as a seasoning.
  • Beets are very common, popular crop in Southern Africa. Pests and diseases are not major concerns and it is relatively easy to grow. Beetroot is sown throughout the year to supply market demand. Beets take longer to mature when growing into the winter cool season and should be given ample time to mature. South Africa has a significant fresh market for beet where both bulb and top are consumed.
  • Two niche markets in the fresh market beet arena are: (i) Baby round beets for both the local and export markets. The requirement is for these varieties to produce uniformly round beets that are harvested at diameters between 20-30 mm. (ii) Baby beet leaves of various colours to be used in fresh salad packs.
  • Historical fresh-market grower prices indicate that the highest prices are received in April due to difficulty in establishing beet in the warm season and then in July and August due to cool winter conditions.
Source: SAKATA Seed Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. Find the SAKATA reference guides for beets and Swiss chard at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed/. Contact them at 011 548 2800.


Further reference:

From ARC-Agricultural Engineering order “Agro-processing of Root Crops (Asparagus, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potato, ginger, parsnip, kohlrabi, turnips)”. Call 012 842 4017 or visit www.arc.agric.za.

On the DALRRD website, on the Directorate Marketing pages, take a look at the annual Beetroot Market Chain Value Profile.

Under “Resource Centre” and “Brochures and Production Guidelines”, find:

Under “Resource Centre” and “Info pak”, find: Vegetables – Spinach beet (Swiss chard)

Under SPECIFIC CROPS at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents are grower notes Beetroot and Swiss chard.

Cabbages and kind (Cole crops)

Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussel sprouts

In terms of growth in gross value of production (2013-2017) and share of total agricultural production value (2013-2017), DAFF (2018) placed cauliflower in the top 10 of all agricultural products.

  • The production of cabbage is always an attractive option. As with most vegetable crops, cabbages are mostly produced for and marketed through the national fresh produce markets, the informal market and chain stores. Like most vegetables, a market for quality and diversity has been developed that creates lucrative opportunities of which the producer can take note.
  • Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are crops that grow best under cool conditions. Varieties have been developed, however, that grow well under very warm conditions.
  • Temperatures a few degrees below freezing generally will not adversely affect the crop. Broccoli is the most sensitive of these crops to frost, and heads may be damaged if temperatures fall below –2ºC. During very high temperatures these crops may suffer. Matching the proper variety to the season is essential in summer; however, cultivars to be grown should be heat tolerant and have good tolerance to Black rot.
Source: Sakata Seed Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd. Find the SAKATA reference guides for broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed/. Contact them at 011 548 2800.
  • Cabbage is used raw in salads (such as coleslaw), as a cooked vegetable, (added to soups or stews) or preserved in pickles or sauerkraut.
  • Cabbage is also dehydrated (dried, flaked or power) for use as a flavouring agent in soups and as an ingredient in other dehydrated foods.
  • Cabbage leaves are used to treat acute inflammation. A paste of raw cabbage may be placed in a cabbage leaf and wrapped around the affected area to reduce discomfort.
  • Cabbage can also be canned, prickled, frozen and cabbage juice can be extracted to make ink.
Source: The Cabbage Value Chain Profile which can be found at www.daff.gov.za. 

Further reference:

From ARC-Agricultural Engineering order “Agro-processing of Brassicas (Broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower)”. Call 012 842 4017 or visit www.arc.agric.za

Under “Resource Centre” and “Brochures and Production Guidelines” at www.daff.gov.za, the DALRRD website, find:

Under “Resource Centre” and “Info pak”, find:

On the Directorate Marketing pages, take a look at the annual Cabbage Market Chain Value Profile. 

On the KZNDARD website, at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents there are grower notes on Cole Crops.

Find the Starke Ayres “Broccoli Production Guideline” at www.starkeayres.co.za/com_variety_docs/Broccoli-Production-Guideline-2014.pdf


Carrots are one of the major vegetables consumed in South Africa. In value carrots are the fifth largest traded vegetable on the five large fresh produce markets (ABSA, 2017). Export markets are Botswana, Angola, Mozambique and Namibia.

  • Carrots can be eaten raw, whole, chopped, grated or added to salads for colour or texture.
  • They are also often chopped and boiled, fried or steamed, and cooked in soups and stews, as well as fine baby foods and select pet foods grated carrots are used in carrot cakes, as well as carrot pudding. The greens are edible as a leaf vegetable, but are rarely eaten by humans.
  • Baby carrots have been a popular ready to eat snack food available in supermarkets.
  • Carrot processing includes canning, freezing and dehydration.
  • Carrot juice is also widely marketed, especially as a health drink, either stand-alone or blended with other fruits and vegetables.
  • Carrots seed oil is an essential oil extract of the seed from the carrot plant. Carrot seed oil is used as massage oil, in creams and lotions.
Source: The Carrot Value Chain Profile document which can be found at www.daff.gov.za.

Further reference:

Find the SAKATA reference guides for carrots at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed/.

Under “Resource Centre” and “Brochures and Production Guidelines” on the DALRRD website, find:

Under “Resource Centre” and “Info pak”, find:

On the Directorate Marketing pages, take a look at the annual Carrot Market Chain Value Profile.

On the KZNDARD website are grower notes on Carrots.


Photo used courtesy of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)

Butternut, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet melon, watermelon, baby marrow

  • Cucumbers originated in India. Technically this is a fruit, but can be classified as both a fruit and a vegetable. Certainly it is usually perceived and eaten as a vegetable.
  • Cucumber can be cooked, but they are most often eaten raw in salads, in cold soups and cucumber based sauces.
  • Cucumbers are also the vegetable of choice for pickles. Pickles are made by placing cucumber in a seasoned brine or vinegar solution.
  • Cucumber juice is in great demand in various forms as a cooling and beautifying agent for the skin. Cucumber juice is also used in the preparation of cosmetics like soap, glycerine, creams and perfumes
Source: The Cucumber Value Chain Profile can be found at www.daff.gov.za

In 2019, 264 000t of pumpkin was produced (Ntombela, 2020). Most of this is sold on the fresh produce markets. On average, SA exports around 20 000t per year, 70% to Europe, 20% to Africa and the rest to Asian markets. Find the latest global overview of melons and other cucurbits at www.freshplaza.com.

Further reference:

Call 012 842 4017 or email iaeinfo [at] arc.agric.za for the following publication, available from ARC- Agricultural Engineering: “Processing of Cucurbits (Butternut, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet melon, watermelon, baby marrow)”.

On the DALRRD website, under “Resource Centre” and “Brochures and Production Guidelines”, find:

On the Directorate Marketing pages, take a look at the annual Cucumber Market Chain Value Profile. 

The KZNDARD website has grower notes on Cucurbits under SPECIFIC CROPS at http://www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents.

Find the SAKATA reference guides for cucumber, pumpkin, squash butternut, sweet melon, and watermelon at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed/.

Find the Haifa cucumber crop guide at www.haifa-group.com.


Garlic is a close relative of onion, leeks and chives. It has nutritional, medicinal and culinary value, being widely used for flavouring and seasoning dishes, pickles and sauces.

  • Imports from the East, where production costs are lower, make up over half of the local market. What counts against the taste of imported garlic is the long time in storage (with the artificial cooling to extend the shelf life) and the irradiation process done for biosecurity reasons.
  • It is also exported to other countries through exports agents and marketing companies. There are grading, packing and marking quality standards for garlic. Complying with these encourage confidence in locally produced garlic.
  • Garlic is a high value crop that can be marketed being fresh, dehydrated or as certified seeds. The majority of garlic is dehydrated and used in a variety of processed foods. Garlic bulb can be peeled, sliced, flaked and dried. This can be packaged or processed further as food spice, vegetable mixtures and sprays. India also produces odourless oil and oleoresin from garlic. Garlic can be used externally for skin problems and fungal infections. It is also uses as insect repellent. Garlic is also alleged to help regulate blood sugar levels.
Source: The Garlic Value Chain Profile at www.daff.gov.za and a South African Garlic Growers Association press release in 2014.


Further reference:

Read the latest Fresh Plaza overview of the global garlic market at www.freshplaza.com.

Find “Some tips for growing garlic” at www.farmersweekly.co.za/farm-basics/how-to-crop/tips-growing-garlic/

From ARC-Agricultural Engineering order “Agro-processing of Root Crops (Asparagus, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potato, ginger, parsnip, kohlrabi, turnips)”. Call 012 842 4017 or visit www.arc.agric.za.

At www.daff.gov.za, the DALRRD website, on the Directorate Marketing pages, take a look at the annual Garlic Market Chain Value Profile.

Under “Resource Centre” and “Brochures and Production Guidelines”, find:

Reporter. 2018, April 25. “Key insights into the global garlic market”. Bizcommunity. Available at www.bizcommunity.com/Article/1/358/176266.html

Ji, S. 2017, November 2. “The Life-Saving Properties of Garlic Revealed”. Wake Up Word. Available at https://wakeup-world.com/2017/11/02/the-life-saving-properties-of-garlic-revealed/

Van der Merwe, J. 2018, October 19. “So boer jy met knoffel”. Landbouweekblad. Available at www.netwerk24.com/landbou/Bedrywe/Bedryfsake/so-boer-jy-met-knoffel-20181018

Green beans

Photo used courtesy of Fred Shikweni, Precedential Agri. Holdings

Further reference:

Green Peas

Further reference:


Further reference:

On the DALRRD website:

Among the KZNDARD notes at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents are ones on growing Lettuce.

Find the SAKATA reference guides for lettuce at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed/

Phillips, L. 2019, February 12. “Quality and efficiency drive commercial lettuce production”. Farmer’s Weekly. Available at www.farmersweekly.co.za/crops/quality-and-efficiency-drive-commercial-lettuce-production/


Onions are considered to be the third most important vegetable crop in South Africa after potatoes and tomatoes (ABSA, 2017). Onions are mostly grown in the North-West, Limpopo, the Western Cape and Northern Cape provinces. The country is self-sufficient in terms of onion production. Mozambique is this country’s largest export market for onions, and the demand for onion exports to SADC countries and the rest of Africa has grown substantially over the past years (ABSA, 2017).

  • Processing of onions consists of canning, oil extraction, freezing and dehydration. They are most often used to enhance flavour in a wide range of recipes such as casseroles, pizzas, soups, and stews. As a garnish, onions are used on sandwiches and salads. In addition, onions are used as a cooking ingredient in countless recipes, and are frequently used as a condiment on sandwich, side dish and appetizer.
  • Over the years there has been an increase in onion dehydration and freezing activities.
Source: The Onion Value Chain Profile at www.daff.gov.za 

Further reference:


In value peppers are the fourth largest traded vegetable on the five large fresh produce markets (ABSA, 2016).


Further reference:


Photos used courtesy of Fred Shikweni, Precedential Agri. Holdings


Photo used courtesy of Fred Shikweni, Precedential Agri. Holdings

Potatoes and sweet potatoes

See the “Potatoes” page.

Spices and chillies

See the “Herbs and spices” page.



Further reference:


The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is a fruit, botanically speaking. Nutritionally, like the cucumber and squash, it is categorised as a vegetable, and so is included in this chapter. South Africa imports from Namibia and Swaziland, and exports to Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland (ABSA, 2017).

  • It is the second-largest traded vegetable on the five large fresh produce markets, after potatoes (ABSA, 2017).
  • Tomato is consumed in diverse ways including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes and sauces and also in drinks.
  • In South Africa tomatoes are used in stews to complement the staple diet of maize meal. As a result, it is also one of the main vegetables used for hawking by small-scale entrepreneurs in the informal sector.
  • Limpopo is the major production area, followed by Mpumalanga, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Production is very limited in winter months and tomatoes can only be produced in frost-free area during winter, or under protection like tunnels.
  • Processing of tomatoes consists of canning, freezing, dehydration and juice production. Tomatoes are processed into whole pealed, tomato and onion braises, pasta, shredded, puree and pasta concentrate.
Source: The Tomato Value Chain Profile at www.daff.gov.za.


Further reference:

Under “Resource Centre” and “Brochures and Production Guidelines” at www.daff.gov.za, the DALRRD website, find:

Under “Resource Centre” and “Info pak”, find:

On the Directorate Marketing pages, take a look at the annual Tomato Market Chain Value Profile. 

Under SPECIFIC CROPS on the KZNDARD website at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents are grower notes on tomatoes.

Find the SAKATA reference guides for tomato at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed/

Find the Haifa tomato crop guide at www.haifa-group.com.

Read the latest Fresh Plaza overview of the global tomato market at www.freshplaza.com.


The turnip is a root vegetable. Turnip leaves and smaller turnips are eaten by humans, while larger varieties of turnips can be used as feed for livestock.


Further reference:

  • From ARC-Agricultural Engineering order “Agro-processing of Root Crops (Asparagus, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potato, ginger, parsnip, kohlrabi, turnips)”. Call 012 842 4017 or visit www.arc.agric.za.
  • Find the SAKATA reference notes for turnip at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed.

Vegetable soybeans

Vegetable soyabeans (Glycine max (L.)) are speciality cultivars that have been bred for human consumption as a green bean.

  • The pods are harvested when still green and the beans have filled 80 – 90% of the pod. The pods are boiled for a few minutes, shelled and only the bean is eaten, usually as a snack or included in salads and stews. The beans are larger, sweeter, more tender and have a nuttier flavour than grain soybeans.
  • They are regularly eaten in Eastern Asia where they are called edamame (“beans on branches”) in Japan and mao dou (“hairy bean”) in China.
  • In South Africa this high protein crop has the potential to fill a niche market and ensure food security in rural communities. Research on the crop is currently being conducted at Cedara and Dundee Research Stations.
Source: James Arathoon, Cedara, who is doing research on this crop. Contact him at james.arathoon [at] kzndard.gov.za. 


Further reference:

Read more at www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/green_vegetable.php.


Witlof, also known as Belgian endive, costs more to produce than many other leafy vegetables.


Further reference:

Other vegetables

Photo used courtesy of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD)

There are several other vegetable types not covered here, to which there are grower guides at www.daff.gov.za. These include:

Under “Resource Centre” and “Info pak”, find:

Under SPECIFIC CROPS at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents are grower notes on Brinjal – Eggfruit and Loofah.

Find the SAKATA reference guides for Chinese cabbage, eggplant, okra, pak choi, radish, squash butternut, squash other and rootstock at http://sakata.co.za/vegetable-seed/.

National strategy and government contact

Find information on the different directorates of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) under “Branches” at www.daff.gov.za.

The Agricultural Policy Action Plan 2015-2019 identified the following “policy levers” to strengthen the vegetable sector:

  1. Providing input subsidies in the form of grant funding
  2. Intensified infrastructure investment via SIP11
  3. Reviewed trade policies to favour intra-Africa trade and bilaterals
  4. Wholesale Finance Facility (WFF)
  5. AgriBEE Fund
  6. Integrating grant funds between [the previous] DAFF and DRDLR e.g. CASP & RECAP using one funding guideline
  7. IPAP Programme interventions include the promotion of co-operatives and facilitation of formation of farmer associations as well as study groups in the production areas.

The Industrial Action Policy Plans (IPAPs) made provision for the establishment of a pilot agri-business hub (find the documents on www.thedti.gov.za). One of the deliverables was a vegetable packhouse (along with chicken abattoir and moringa processing plant).

Read about the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) at www.ppecb.com or call 021 930 1134.

The National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) does research on vegetable production in South Africa. Find their reports at www.namc.co.za, or contact them at 012 341 1115.

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Role players



  • Fresh Produce Importers Association Tel: 012 331 5341 www.fpia.co.za
  • Produce Marketing Association Find the Country Manager Southern Africa contact details at www.pma.com.
  • South African Garlic Growers Association (SAGGA) Tel: 082 465 0514 www.sagarlic.co.za
  • Tomato Producers’ Association of South Africa Tel: 015 395 8212 http://tomatoessa.org
  • Vegetable Industry Value Chain Round Table (VIVCRT) c/o Fresh Producer Exporters Forum at 021 526 0474


Companies involved


  • AC Seed Tel: 042 291 0849
  • AgriTogo Tel: 084 703 9099 www.agritogo-farminabox.com DIY Mini Farms
  • Biogrow Tel: 028 313 2054 www.biogrow.co.za Organic solutions
  • C Baard Tel: 054 461 1016
  • Dormas Tel: 0861 DORMAS www.dormas.co.za Vegetable handling equipment
  • Dryers for Africa Tel: 082 925 4396 www.dryersforafrica.co.za Fruit, vegetable, nuts and herb drying systems
  • EarthBox Tel: 011 794 1471 / 084 241 9087 www.earthbox.co.za A “portable, re-usable, maintenance-free, container gardening system”
  • Enza Zaden South Africa Tel: 012 023 00048 www.enzazaden.com
  • Goldpack (Pty) Ltd Tel: 031 569 4199 www.goldpack.co.za Multihead portion weighers for potatoes, onions, carrots and various types of fruit; bagging, labelling solutions and more
  • Hall Fennell Tel: 042 287 0712 Sakata Seed Southern Africa franchisee servicing the Eastern Cape
  • Haygrove Tel: 021 859 1026 www.haygrove.co.za Cost effective greenhouse tunnels
  • Hishtil SA Tel: 022 461 2508 / 081 016 8078 www.hishtilsa.com Vegetable seedlings are produced, including tomatoes, cucumber, squash, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and lettuce
  • Hygrotech SA (Pty) Ltd Tel: 012 545 8000 www.hygrotech.co.za Distributors of vegetable seeds, adjuvants, fertilisers, plant manipulators, micro element mixtures and planters
  • INCOTEC South Africa Tel: 033 386 1560 / 082 440 6928 www.incotec.com/sa/en Seed and coating technology for vegetable seeds
  • International Bag Buyers Tel: 012 250 0120 www.internationalgroup.co.za Knitted vegetable pockets, woven vegetable pockets, (WPP) woven bags, cardboard and paper, fomo packs, soft plastics etc.
  • Livingseeds Heirloom Seeds Tel: 073 141 7101 www.livingseeds.co.za
  • McDonald’s Seed Tel: 033 346 0121 www.mcdonaldseeds.co.za
  • Morningdew Farms Tel: 011 613 4266/7 www.mdf.co.za
  • Plan-A-Head Tel: 033 342 7888 www.planahead.co.za Vegetable management software
  • Piket Implements Tel: 022 913 2435 www.piket.co.za Vegetable planting implements
  • Red ‘n Jucy Tel: 031 767 2096 www.daisyfresh.co.za VERT-GRO systems (vertical semi-interlocking pots) enable more plants per square metre than conventional methods
  • Reel Gardening Tel: 011 782 0661 www.reelgardening.co.za
  • Rovic & Leers Tel: 021 907 1700 www.rovicleers.co.za Implements and machinery
  • SAKATA Seed Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd Tel: 011 548 2800 www.sakata.co.za  (i) Sakata Brits/Marble Hall 012 252 0942 / 083 252 1886 (ii) Sakata E Cape (West) 073 889 9893 (iii) Sakata Free State & North West 082 374 5076 (iv) Sakata Gauteng & North West 082 825 0970 (v) Sakata Limpopo 082 881 0234 (vi) Sakata Limpopo (West) 083 638 0532 (vii) Sakata Mpumalanga 082 687 6886 (viii) Sakata Northern Cape (ix) Sakata Western Cape (North) 079 519 7497 (x) Sakata Western Cape (South) 021 850 0011. Visit the website for details of distributors in the different provinces and in other African countries. These include C Baard, McDonalds Seeds and Seedplan Distributors in South Africa.
  • Seedplan Distributors Tel: 043 732 1307
  • Southtrade Tel: 021 981 6044 www.southtrade.co.za Implements and machinery
  • Stimuplant Tel: 012 802 0940 www.stimuplant.co.za
  • Talborne Organics Tel: 013 933 3172 Read about “FERTILIS” earthworm castings (fertiliser made from feeding dairy cow manure to earthworms – Eisenia foetida) at www.fertilis.co.za. This product (registration no B3664 Act36/1947) is certified by the Organic Food Federation UK and is used as a fertiliser for ALL soils and crops.
  • Turnerland Manufacturing Tel: 022 723 1413 www.turnerland.co.za equipment for onion and potato farmers
  • Wizzard Worms Tel: 033 413 1837 www.wizzardworms.co.za Find the “Vegetable Production” menu option on the website.

Consultants and other services

  • Bureau for Food & Agricultural Policy (BFAP) www.bfap.co.za 
  • Garlic Growers www.garlic.org.za Details of the compound changes which occur after crushing and cutting garlic may be found on this website, as well as a five-year garlic business plan.
  • HelloChoice www.hellochoice.co.za Online trading platform for fresh produce
  • JBT FoodTech Tel: 021 982 1130 www.jbtfoodtech.com/en Processing solutions
  • KOROM Tel: 023 316 1230 http://korkom.co.za The purpose of Korkom is to gather information in order to help our onion and potato growers with matters such as planting and market planning.
  • Kruger Swart & Associates Tel: 021 885 2347 www.skaa.co.za
  • NviroTek Labs Tel: 012 252 7588 / 082 889 0139 www.nviroteklabs.co.za Independent laboratory services for agriculture in Southern Africa.
  • Timbali Technology Incubator, based in Mpumalamga, sets up small-scale farmers in sustainable businesses. 100% of Timbali’s farmers make it through the first year of business. See www.timbali.co.za.

Some producers, packers and exporters


Training and research

See the “Agricultural education and training” page.

  • Abadle Abantu Tel: 072 233 1763 www.abadleabantu.co.za Agricultural development projects include training
  • Agri Start trains people top establish their own vegetable gardens at home and produce their own basic food at home. Take a look at http://agristart.co.za and call Cois Harman at 083 265 6210.
  • Agricultural Colleges provide courses in vegetable production, and in vegetable and fruit drying. Madzivhandila Collegepresents training in vegetable achaar processing. At Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal, Poster Training Modules are also available, covering aspects like production planning, cabbage and potato production etc. Call 033 355 9304. For training courses, call 033 355 9444. Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute runs short courses on vegetable production. For more information, contact 049 802 6723 or write to ElanaK [at] daff.gov.za. Details of Agricultural Colleges can be found in the “Agricultural education and training” article. Research is also conducted.
  • AgriSETA accredited providers offer training on vegetable production. An example: Agriskills Transfer Tel: 012 460 9585 www.agriskills.net, Dicla Training Tel: 071 692 2229 www.diclatraining.com, NOSA Agricultural Services Tel: 087 286 9298 www.nosaagri.co.za, Reach Out Vegetable Cultivation Tel: 072 624 9498 (Western Cape), Skills for Africa Tel: 012 379 4920 www.skillsafrica.co.za
  • ARC-Plant Protection Research Tel: 012 808 8000. For the Plant Pathology and Microbiology Division, contact 012 356 9800.
  • Training courses on vegetable production for resource poor farmers were developed by the ARC-Vegetable and Ornamental Plants. These range from basic courses, dealing with the basic principles of vegetable production, to more advanced courses. Contact 012 841 9611. Production courses are also given on growing organic vegetables.
  • Foundations for Farming does training in, amongst other things,  planting a vegetable garden. Contact Neill Jackson at 082 444 3947. Find details at www.foundationsforfarming.co.za/index.php/training/south-africa
  • New Era Agricultural Development (NEAD) Tel: 076 930 8225 http://nead.co.za
  • NGOs are involved in training food insecure communities to grow vegetables. Consult the “Food security” chapter.
  • Terra Madre SA Tel: 082 602 2882 http://terramadresa.com Design, install and maintain edible gardens for homes, communities projects and business.
  • University of the Free State Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology, Division of Food Science, Maryna de Wit Tel: 051 401 2692 / 3261 www.ufs.ac.za/biotech
  • Universities offering agricultural degrees do research and training in vegetable production.

Websites and publications

Visit the websites listed earlier on this page.

  • Two general grower guides are available from the Agricultural Research Council (ARC)Production Guideline for summer vegetables and Production Guideline for winter vegetables. There are also over 100 grower guide leaflets. These cover general vegetable topics (e.g. crop rotation in vegetables), onions and garlic, root crops (e.g. the production of carrots, turnips, beetroot), leaf crops (e.g. spinach, lettuce), green beans and broadbeans, green and dry peas, eggfruit, cole crops (e.g. cauliflower and cabbage cultivars), cucurbits (e.g. pumpkin and squash cultivars) and other vegetables. Contact the Public Relations Officer at 012 841 9611.
  • Order online at www.arc.agric.za, call 012 842 4017 or send an email to stoltze [at] arc.agric.za for the following publications, available from the ARC Agricultural Engineering: (i) Agro-processingof Root Crops (Asparagus, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, potatoes, sweet potato, ginger, parsnip, kohlrabi, turnips) (ii) Agro-processingof Legumes (Cowpeas, beans, green beans, lentils, green peas, peanuts) (iii) Agro-processing of Cucurbits (Butternut, cucumber, pumpkin, sweet melón, baby marrow, watermelon) (iv) Agro-processingof Brassicas (Broccoli, sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower) (v) Agro-Processing of Field Crops (chilli, bell peppers, tomatoes) (vi) Agro-processing of Olives and Legumes (green peas, green beans, cowpeas, lentils, olives, peanuts, mushrooms).
  • CD Roms from the ARC-PPR (Plant Protection Research) include: Crop Pests, Vol. 3: Potatoes and Other Vegetables (also available as a book). Write to booksales [at] arc.agric.za or infopri [at] arc.agric.za.
  • Find the “Vegetables” option at https://wikifarmer.com.
  • The AgriSETA Assessment Guide Primary Agriculture “Monitor the establishment of a crop” includes tunnel crops and vegetable garden beds. Other learning material includes “Harvesting agricultural crops”.
  • Available at www.kzndard.gov.za/resource-centre/guideline-documents is the downloadable Vegetable Production in KwaZulu-Natal.
  • Nell, W. T., Engelbrecht, G. M. & Du Plessis, D. M. 2007. Growing vegetables: A comprehensive guide on how to establish, maintain and manage a vegetable garden. 2nd edition. Centre for Agricultural Management, University of the Free State. (Also available on video and DVD).
  • Stork, P. 2017. The Vegetable Producer’s Manual: A Practical Guide for Cultivating Vegetables Profitably. Watch the overview on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdUaKitbuWY and order it at www.kejafa.com.
  • An Introduction to Growing Vegetable Gardens / Intshayelelo Ekulimeni Imifuno / ‘N Inleiding na Groentetuine, written and made available by Nelson Mandela University (NMU) is a NMU introductory guide to growing vegetables for schools. Read it at bit.ly/agriVEG.
  • Guide to Growing Vegetables, a handy A6 booklet. Order from 021 406 4962, or fax 021 405 1031.
  • The publication The people’s guide to farming: growing plants handbook is an adaptation of David Phillip’s earlier The people’s farming workbook. It was developed for the Environment and Development Agency Trust by Shelley Epstein and several others, and is published by Lansdowne: Juta Education.
  • Find the Nation in Conversation overview of the vegetable industry (Feb 2017) on YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yy6HD0IcicE
  • Companies involved often have Grower guides for different vegetables. Find the frequent references to SAKATA notes in earlier headings, for example.
  • Find the many grower guides at www.growveg.co.za.


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