Minister Van Rensburg and Prince Charles Discuss Empowerment Farm Issues
Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Gerrit van Rensburg, together with newly empowered farmers, Edwin and Hendrik Gouws, met with His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, and Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cornwell, during a visit by the royal couple to Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town on Saturday.
"The future of our new farmers is very important to me, and I therefore decided to invite Edwin and Hendrik to accompany me on Saturday," van Rensburg said.
Both Charles and Camilla are knowledgeable on the subject of flowers, and were impressed to learn our indigenous cut flower industry is primarily based on organic principles. They also congratulated us on South Africa's 34th gold medal at the recent Chelsea Flower Show, van Rensburg said.
According to Edwin, the Prince was particularly interested in their participation at Chelsea. The Prince also asked about the location where we cultivate the different types of fynbos, and whether we use irrigation. "I described our farm and the area's micro climate, and explained our drip irrigation system to him," Edwin said.
Flowers from the Gouws brothers' farm, Mountain Dew, were used in this year's Chelsea Show, and Edwin also accompanied van Rensburg to Chelsea. This was made possible due to the Western Cape Government's role as one of the main sponsors of the South African exhibition.
Van Rensburg discussed the Department of Agriculture's initiatives to improve market access for new farmers with Prince Charles, with the Chelsea Show and the Gouws Brothers participation as a case in hand. "We are assisting our new farmers with production, but without market access, locally as well as internationally, they cannot succeed," van Rensburg said.