Buchu Boom

Buchu Boom

by BEN VILJOEN

 

Prices now paid for buchu are sky-high, but one should look at the long term, says the producer

 

The future again looks rosy for South Africa’s buchu growers – thanks to the fact that people are becoming health-conscious and more wary of synthetics in their food.

 

In some European countries it has to be stated on foodstuff labels exactly what, if any, synthetic ingredients are included in the contents, and prices paid for buchu oil have risen dramatically, specially in high developed countries.

 

Buchu has been used as a medicinal herb for hundreds of years with buchu oil being used extensively in more recent times as a flavouring in the food industry.

 

So prices were good and growers of buchu did well, until synthetic flavourings, most of them cheaper than buchu oil, replaced it in the ‘70s. As a result, demand for the product dropped, and only a few growers catering for the dry-herb market remained.

 

While the prices now being achieved have made intensive buchu production a viable farming venture once again, growers should rather accept lower prices so as to protect the long-term market for their product.

 

So says Eddie Godfrey, who farms at Waterfall Health Farm near Paarl, and who has had almost 20 years experience growing this herb and distilling its oil.

 

 

Farmers Weekly, South Africa, September 2000

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