It’s clear as day – a big farming business is not built in a day

When talking to Tapiwa Masimba, commercial fruit and veggie farmer from Dew Crisp, it quickly becomes clear why there is the saying Rome wasn’t built in a day. Today, Dew Crisp is one of the leading providers of salad products to the retail and food sectors in South Africa, with two major operating centres in Johannesburg and Cape Town, respectively.

The farm’s group operations include large-scale farming through both conventional and hydroponic techniques; procurement of fresh produce from other independent farmers; and the processing, packing and distribution of products in state-of-the-art facilities, with strict cold chain management protocol. They also render much-needed telesales services to the more than 150 retail outlets who buy from them.

With such impressive operations, it is truly hard to imagine, but Tapiwa explains that Dew Crisp, which was founded in 1983, really does come from humble beginnings. This also means that any start-up farmer who is willing to put in the work can achieve similar successes. 

Why salad products, you may ask. Leading market studies (by the likes of Fortune Business Insights) show that health consciousness is fast increasing among consumers globally. Salad is rich in essential nutrients and fibre and is thus high in demand for the health and fitness boost it provides. In fact, on average, one out of three individuals eats salad every single day.

Salad is a staple food, starter or side dish on the menus of more than 60% of restaurants. These trends are reflected in the South African and African market. Let’s look at lettuce, for example, which is the most basic ingredient of almost any salad. In 2019, we produced approximately 31 330 tonnes of lettuce, and we consumed about 95% of it locally. 

This means that we don’t produce enough yet to fully meet the massive potential for lettuce exports. Especially when we look at demand from the likes of Nigeria and Zambia, which increased their lettuce imports by a staggering 229% and 157% between 2015 and 2019. So, if you’re a small-scale farmer thinking of expanding into this arena, don’t think twice!

If you’re already in the lettuce or salad business, providing pre-packaged salad and salad mixes (such as Dew Crisp does) is a great way to expand your business because apart from people becoming more health conscious, their lifestyles and schedules are also becoming more hectic. Follow this link to look at Dew Crisp’s most popular ranges:—products.html.

According to Tapiwa, the four critical things you must invest in to get ahead are: people, quality assurance, processes and technology. You will often have to reach deep into your pockets to get these kinds of resources. So, if money is of the essence right now, why not partner with your trusted farming specialists at Laeveld Agrochem?

With branches strategically located nationwide, Laeveld Agrochem’s people take a hands-on approach by visiting their local farmers regularly, taking soil samples, and analysing crops to make expert recommendations on farming techniques as well as the fertilisers and chemicals to use. Ultimately, their mission is to help you get the most out of your crops, for as little as possible. 

If you’re ready to start converting your emerging farm into one of the leading commercial farms of tomorrow, go to to make an appointment with one of their agronomists. Follow @NicheFarmers on Facebook to constantly connect to and learn from other niche farmers.