SOUTH AFRICA – Southern Oil (SOILL), a South African canola processing facility, has announced a record-breaking canola harvest projection surpassing 220,000 tons.

Zander Spammer, Agricultural Resource Manager at SOILL, attributed the achievement to favorable weather conditions, advanced canola cultivars, and improved farming practices.

“As the annual canola harvest draws to a close across South Africa, the ongoing 2023 harvest stands out with a remarkable surge in total yield,” he noted.

“Initiated in early October and set to conclude by month-end, the harvest is on track to escalate by over 130,000 tons within a span of four years, climbing from 94,317 MT in 2019 to an anticipated 220,000 tons this year.”

He added that SOILL, dedicated to providing healthier alternative oils, holds a pivotal role as South Africa’s largest canola purchaser.

He assured that the company will collaborate closely with local farmers, actively contributing to optimizing their yields and providing guidance on soil preparation, cultivar selection, and optimal harvest timing.

“This commitment aligns seamlessly with SOILL’s broader dedication to community development, encompassing job creation, and advancement through its involvement with the Canola Development Trust.”

A release from the company revealed that encompassing 120,198 hectares of canola planted across the provinces of Western Cape and Eastern Cape, the 2023 harvest is concentrated in the Southern Cape, Overberg, and Swartland regions.

The report showed that these regions, characterized by excellent soil quality, winter rainfall, and warm, dry summers, create an optimal environment for canola cultivation, further supported by favorable rains in the past year.

“Canola cultivation in South Africa, utilizing primarily non-GMO seeds, has been a mainstay for almost two decades,” SOILL reported.

“Post-flowering, meticulous harvesting procedures by local farmers precede rigorous testing and grading at regional silos to ensure adherence to strict technical specifications. The seeds are then transported to extraction plants in Swellendam or Morreesburg.”

Meanwhile, beyond promoting agricultural growth, SOILL assured to take a comprehensive approach to community development through the Canola Development Trust, reinvesting in the local workforce contributing to canola cultivation.

This trust will focus on educational initiatives for the children of farm workers, including programs such as CanoLees and CanoTel, managed by the non-profit organization CAP.

In addition, reflecting on a commitment to inclusivity, SOILL’s ownership structure sees 60% held by the Sentraal-Suid Co-operative and 18% by the Employee Trust.

This cooperative approach aims to enhance collaboration, growth, and the consistent promotion of best farming practices.

The collaboration between the Sentraal-Suid Co-operative and SOILL agriculture teams also seeks to optimize education for the farming community, working towards South Africa’s self-sufficiency and reduced reliance on imports.