Currently, walnuts make up the smallest portion of South Africa’s nut crops. However, they show much promise as a profitable crop that can be grown across various areas in the country. One of the first to take the leap, Rotondo Walnuts is paving the way for a robust future industry. The 10-year wait for a return on investment is enough to put most investors off any opportunity.
Recognising the potential of the nut industry to create jobs and boost rural economies, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) decided to invest in walnut production, establishing the first orchard in South Africa in Aliwal North in the Free State in 1998.
Counting in the farm’s favour is the counter-seasonality of Southern Hemisphere production. About 90% of walnuts are grown in the Northern Hemisphere, with Chile and Australia making up most of the other 10%. This provides a good opportunity to gain higher prices when there is low global supply.