Agriculture Marula is Limpopo’s super fruit. Marula wine tasting laboratory. Image: University of Limpopo
festival, an industrial park, the source of a world-famous liqueur and a centuries-old beer recipe – and now the fruit of the marula tree is inspiring an associate professor at the University of Limpopo to make a marula fruit wine. The women of Limpopo have been making beer from marula fruit for longer than records exist. They continue to make it in large quantities every year in February at the time of the Marula Festival, a major contribution to the arts and culture and tourism calendar. Distell makes and distributes Amarula cream liqueur around the world. The Limpopo Department of Economic Development and Tourism (LEDET) wants to see the University of Limpopo doing more research on the possible uses for the fruit, including jams and cosmetics. To that end, a Marula Industrial Hub at Phalaborwa is envisaged that will provide a platform to further exploit the tasty marula fruit, which has a high vitamin C content and is much loved by elephants. Facilities at the hub will include a centre for research and processing facilities to create more value from the raw product. Advisors will be available to help small-scale farmers and SMMEs enter the formal economy. One researcher already underway is Professor Kgabo Moganedi. Drawing on time-honoured (and organic) fermentation processes, Moganedi has created a clear alcoholic beverage and is reported to be almost ready to scale up production. The project has received
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Sector Insight Farmer Production Support Units are being rolled out. funding from National Research Foundation (NRF) under the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and from the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). Cotton growing is experiencing a renewal in Limpopo, and the Provincial Government’s programme for revitalising irrigation schemes is helping. In Ephraim Mogale Municipality about 345 hectares of cotton has been planted which will benefit 74 small-scale farmers in the area. The projected harvest is 522 tons and an estimated 300 seasonal jobs are expected to be created during the harvesting period.