Podcast: Farmers, take note of saffron opportunities

agriculture podcast

This week’s podcast features (from left) Gugulethu Mahlangu, Kelo Kubu, Bennie Engelbrecht, Eric van Zyl and Apriena Jugoo Pummer. Photo's: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Mzansi is fast becoming a significant player in the farming and export of saffron – by far the world’s most expensive spice. After years of perfecting the art of saffron cultivation in the Northern Cape, Bennie Engelbrecht, the founder and a director of Saffricon, joins our Farmer’s Inside Track agriculture podcast to talk about the opportunities now open to Mzansi farmers. 

All of South Africa is abuzz with talks of saffron farming changing the game for the agri sector. For the local economy, saffron offers an invaluable source of foreign income from exports. It offers commercial farmers an alternative source of revenue through diversification and also assists small-scale farmers, says Engelbrecht.  

In South Africa, saffron (sometimes referred to as “red gold”) retails for as much as R250/g (or R250 000/kg). The hefty price tag is attributed to the labour-intensive harvesting methods followed – from picking the flowers to removing the threads, everything is done by hand.  

Engelbrecht foresees solid growth prospects for the international saffron market, primarily because world demand far exceeds supply. Saffron is primarily used in the food industry as a seasoning to enhance flavour and aroma, but also has great use in the natural cosmetics and natural medicine industries, and as a dye in the textile industry. 

This profitable crop can be grown in almost any environment, in conditions that are traditionally not ideally suited for most kinds of agriculture. This includes the Northern Cape, which actually suits the cultivation of saffron. This allows for the production of profitable vegetation from unprofitable soil. 

Read more on how Saffron ‘could be pure gold’ for new era farmers on Food For Mzansi and listen to his interview on Mzansi’s favourite agriculture podcast by following the links at the end of the page. 

Other podcast highlights: 

This week’s Farmer’s Inside Track agriculture podcast also has other highlights for the agricultural sector: 

How to listen to Farmer’s Inside Track agriculture podcast 

Option 1: Click here to listen on Spotify (all mobile and other devices). 

Option 2: Click here to listen on any Apple device. 

Option 3: Click here to listen on Google Podcasts. 

Option 4:Click here listen using this player. Just click “play”.