Between our group of 22 shareholders, we produce in excess of 6000ha of potatoes. Two of our most successful varieties are Mondial and Sifra, which now dominate the South African retail space.
Wesgrow has been supplying the industry with potato seed varieties since 1964, which we source from our distinguished potato variety breeders in Holland and Scotland. Since 1983, we have been paving the way for the development of new potato varieties in South Africa.
We are the oldest and most established potato breeding company in South Africa
We have been supplying the industry with potato seed varieties since 1964.
We source from our distinguished potato variety breeders in Holland and Scotland. Since 1983, we have been paving the way for the development of new potato varieties in South Africa.
In the late 80’s South Africa produced only the old varieties of potatoes such as BP1, BP13, and Buffelspoort which were all quite susceptible to Common Scab, which is still the most harmful disease within this specific industry. The Common Scab creates between 1 and 12 really large lesions on the potato, which makes it unmarketable. Once you’ve had Common Scab, the pathogen remains in your soil forever.
What this meant was that no potato farmer would remain a potato farmer forever. He would be able to continue until he had planted through all his soil, after which he would have to go and lease or buy another farm in order to continue. Very few farmers gathered in enough money over a six-year rotation period to afford a new farm.
The first variety that Wesgrow introduced into the industry was Mondial. Mondial, at present, takes up more than 50% of the market share(or industry). When first introduced, Mondial was unknown to the South African market, but it quickly grew in popularity to take over about 80% of the market.
The next variety we brought in was Sifra which then took over more market pushing Mondial down to 50% while Sifra now takes up about 35%. Between these two varieties, we have quite a large market share, not in terms of seed sales but in terms of varieties currently available in the fresh produce market.
We have definitely experienced great success in this industry in regards to introducing new varieties. This is not only what we have done but what we aspire to do more of going forward.
We receive our varieties from world-leading companies in Holland and Scotland