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Nation in Conversation - Forestry forms an integral part of Agriculture

  • 17 May 2019
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The pristine area with breathtaking scenery has great potential for extensive farming. While in the EC, we learn that forestry extends much further than just the construction industry. We explore the mountainous village of Ugie, named after the Ugie River in Scotland, the birthplace of founder William Murray. 

Did you know that the trout in Ugie was actually initially brought to the country by Murray? Fly-fishing has since become a popular pastime for the area renowned for its trout. Charles Coetzer of the Elundini Municipality says that since the R56 road has been tarred, it attracts even more feet to the area west of Lesotho. Ugie and Mclear are located on the R56 which is the shortest route between Cape Town and Durban. Passes like Naudésnek, the highest gravel road passes in Southern Africa, and the Bastervoetpad are quite popular.

In the studio, presenters Theo Vorster and Rozanne McKenzie talk Pieter de Wet, General manager of PG Bison in Ugie. Pieter tells us how it is their hot and wet summers and cold and dry winters that make the Ugie perfect area. Their biggest single risk factor is fire and for this, they make use of electronic fire detection techlogy. PG Bison CEO Gerhard Victor shares some insight on their development program that he is particularly excited about. They assist new entrepreneurs through the program.

Did you know that wood is used as a compound in medication, makeup, skin products as well as low fat yoghurt and ice cream? The product is also used as a binder and cellulose for cotton replacement in the textile industry. Forestry South Africa's research and protection director, Ronald Heath, said that forestry makes up only 1% of South Africa's surface area. If you think about it, the use of paper is decreasing these days, what are the implications of this for the packaging industry? 

The forestry industry accounts for 11% of the Agricultural GDP and the multiplier effect of the industry is 5.9. The future of forestry still looks bright because despite the fact that the industry only grew 4.4% over 20 years, there was a 52% increase in production per area. Diversification is a channel for growth with the Private-Public Growth Initiative highlighted by President Cyril in his State of the Nation address. With that, we could be looking at R25bn potential investment. Just as other agricultural industries, those within forestry are praying just as hard for rain to survive.

So if you missed this episode you can watch the repeats on kykNET, Fridays at 13:00, Saturdays at 17:30, Sundays at 17:00, Tuesdays at 16:30 and Wednesdays at 14:00. In the next two episodes, you can look forward to all the highlights of Nation in Conversation panel discussions during NAMPO, the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere.

We also look forward to leading you through the rest of the 13-week series with focus on Nampo Harvest Day, beetroot, wheat, cotton and pecans. Nation in Conversation is broadcast weekly, every Thursday evening at 18:00 on kykNET, from now until June 27, 2019.

For more information or the complete schedule of this new series please visit the website

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