Revitalizing local economy through chicory production
Nestlé South Africa chicory project began in 2008 with emerging farmers in Weenen, Kwa-Zulu
However, price increases led to the import of our chicory from India at a lower cost. However, as
Indian exports to Europe rise, the shifting supply and demand suggest the price of imported chicory
will increase too. Therefore, Nestlé South Africa launched a project to improve the production of
The first large-scale trials, in late 2008, focused on finding willing farmers, understanding the
nature of local diseases and pests, and recording water absorption, soil type and climate, so that
by the first planting season of 2009, 13 farmers had planted 19 hectares. In 2010, around 440
tonnes of raw chicory produced 90 tonnes of roasted chicory at the Estcourt factory.
In June 2010, the farmers, officials and extension officers from the Department of Agriculture, the
Deputy Mayor and Nestlé staff – agronomists and factory employees – attended a farmers' day, at which
key issues were discussed, cultivation and harvesting demonstrations were given, future plans were
agreed and awards presented.
Value to Society
The project focused on Weenen in KwaZulu Natal province, where available land, good soil and existing irrigation
provided an opportunity to revitalise the local economy. In line with the Government's Land Redistribution
Policy and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE)
programme, the project centred on farms owned by black farmers whose ancestral land had been returned to them.
The areas selected were close to our Estcourt factory, which uses chicory in RICOFFY,
thus providing an established market and additional employment opportunities.
Value to Nestlé
To reach production targets, we need to continue to find solutions to the various challenges. Support from the
KwaZulu Natal Department of Agriculture has included a ZAR 3 million investment in tractors and other equipment, as well as mentoring from
extension workers. Nestlé agronomists are assisting with farmer training and trials in cultivation,
irrigation and seed treatment for germination, and a supplier for a registered herbicide to help with weed
control has been located.