When it comes to farming with beetroot in Mzansi, it’s all about soil and climate. During a recent episode of Food For Mzansi’s Gather To Grow sessions on Twitter, seasoned farmers unpacked growing and processing these popular veggies.
In the session, Devrol Legodi gives insight into several bootroot varieties and why she prefers Detroit dark red beets and star 1105. She also explains why timing and sunlight are key to successfully growing this crop.
When it comes to harvesting, Kgotlello Roda explains that beetroots can be challenging to harvest when the soil is hard and dry. Furthermore, climate change and pests, she says, are significant obstacles to beetroot cultivation.
“I’m planting under shaded nets. The most insects I experienced [were] grasshoppers and my backyard is full of moles. I had to put in measures to make sure that the moles don’t go into my garden because they were going to eat my beetroot from the bottom.”
Ever thought of processing beetroots into by-products? The session also features agro-processor Edward Kgarose, who encourages farmers to be innovative and consider the options in agro-processing.
“Try to find out what products you can produce out of your beetroot. I know you’re not agro-processors, but just try to have a product that you can produce out of your beetroot.
“You can do a lot of things when we talk about innovation. Beetroot is a skincare product, so that’s an opportunity.”
Kgarose also stresses the importance of farmers having a backup strategy in the event of poor performing markets. He encourages farmers to branch out and look at other products they can produce.
In this edition, industry experts also discuss:
- Tools of operation;
- Various soil types and the pH levels in which beets thrive in; and
- Navigating climate change as a beetroot farmer.
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