Born, bred and raised in an agricultural family, Cynthia van der Merwe introduced her son Frederick to the business and together they acquired 6 000 hectares, 300 hectares has been de-bushed and is being used for growing vegetables. Cynthia says the land is also authorised for game farming but they have not explored that yet.
The mother and son business partnership started their farming venture, which they styled Request Tuli Fresh, 14 years ago in Kwa Nokeng. It employs 40 permanent staff and at least 70 seasonal workers. Cynthia says they introduced butternuts and tomatoes on a small scale but it has grown over the years.
“When we started in Kwa Nokeng, we were mainly growing cabbage and green peppers, but we have expanded our business and to acquire this farm through assistance from the National Development Bank (NDB),” she says.
She says like other businesses, they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and were not able to source plant-ready seeds. Heavy rains have also been an issue. However, Cynthia says they have nine irrigation systems that cover 96 hectares of ploughed potatoes that should be ready for the market this month and in November.
The Van Der Merwes say they plan to cover at least 160 hectares in the next planting batch and have booked for the seeds. Cynthia says their biggest customer is Choppies Superstores countrywide.