Dealing with agriculture challenges

Land users in the Overberg are set to benefit from new extension capacity, through a combined SAB and WWF-South Africa project. Jan Coetzee has been appointed as Better Barley Better Beer Project Extension Officer. His task will include assisting barley-growing farmers in the area to deal with agriculture challenges, while promoting sustainable agriculture.


Coetzee will initially work closely with three pilot sites in the region. His task will include developing the business case for sustainable production, and encouraging conservation of natural resources on farms. He has already met with other conservation organisations and associations operating in the Overberg, including the ABI Coordination team, to ensure conservation efforts here are optimised, and to ensure duplication is avoided.


SAB has approximately 670 suppliers across the country – many based in the Overberg district. The company has, with WWF-SA, developed best practice principles to assist farmers to operate more sustainably on their land. This is known as the ‘Better Barley, Better Beer Initiative’.


The initiative encourages written land management plans for farmers and annual economic assessments of farming operations. It is also based on the principle that the land’s production potential is maintained or improved, and that land users, where possible, play their role in maintaining ecological infrastructure through biodiversity agreements with appropriate organisations. The initiative also encourages farmers to better understand and, where possible, to adapt to the impact of climate change.


The position is being tested as a pilot over the next two years.Coetzee has previously worked for CapeNature in the Greater Gouritz Corridor and Greater Cederberg Biodiversity  Corridor, as well as the Reserve Manager at the Swartberg Nature Reserve. He had most recently been working for a private environmental consultancy in New Zealand.


For more information, contact Jan Coetzee:


Photographs courtesy of Evan Eifler.

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