Organic apples for a healthy nation
Well-known veteran farmer, Mike Prevost, has been growing organic apples since 1999 at his farm which also grows about 60% of the total South African apples. He says the decision to turn the farm into an organic one was a result from a lecture he attended on farming. “We had a family discussion and we deliberated on many issues before we could decide to convert the farm into an organic farm. It took us about four years to convert it,” Prevost informed the Economist.
Organic farming reduces pollution and greenhouse gases released from food production by restricting the use of artificial chemical fertilizers and pesticides. He said there was a concern for the environment because of chemical fertilizers used in farming hence the decision to convert to growing organic fruits. “I invested a lot in improving the soil at the farm by applying compost and using only natural fertilizers. It took a lot of time but gradually it paid off,” said Prevost.
Besides apples, the farm also grows organic pears and peaches which are exported to Europe and the local areas in South Africa. The idea of supplying organic apples to Namibia excites Prevost and he says that although the market is not big, it looks promising. “We find that today’s food contains a lot of additives and chemicals. Children are born with deficiencies all because of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) added to the food,” Prevost said, adding that although many of these deformities in children are not proven to be caused by GMO’s, the fact still remains frightening.