Propagation nursery established
Essential Amathole has established a dedicated propogation nursery to root cuttings of the various essential oil plants currently being cultivated. At present rose damascena, lavender, peppermint, lemon balm, rose geranium and Perlagonium sidoides cuttings/stolons are being prepared from organically certified root stock. This stock will be planted at the sites to enable a limited scaling up of operations by a further five hectares this year.
The CEO of the Nkonkobe Municipality’s economic development agency (NEDA) recently visited the project. He was briefed on the initiative, visited the office, the propogation nursery and the cultivation site in Hogsback, which allowed him to experience all the key dimensions of this local economic development effort. NEDA indicated a keen interest to support the project.
Furthermore, farmers from Hertzog, Cathcartvale, Thyumie Valley and Happy Valley (Hogsback) areas have indicated their interest in participating in the initiative by growing essential oils organically on tracts of land that they own, or to lease their land to Essential Amathole to do so.
Test results regarding the quality of the oils which were distilled at the end of last summer indicates significant potential. The challenge the company faces is to it grow enough of the appropriate crops, which will produce good quality oil in sufficient volumes to meet market demands.