The story of Johan Joubert
‘Taking full advantage of a big network’
Johan Joubert from Graceland Hydroponics runs a large cucumber farm near Johannesburg. He is a true entrepreneur who believes that the biggest chance for success is to trust and work with partners with the right expertise.
“I was trained as an accountant. Once I had decided that I wanted to involve myself in agriculture I was able to raise financing and used the opportunity to purchase a cucumber farm with 30 tunnels as a going concern.
As I was new in the business, I decided to surround myself with advisers I could trust and work with, so I would not be influenced by every visitor to my farm. One of them was Rijk Zwaan, who advised me about the right varieties. It helped me to become a reliable supplier of cucumbers to a major supermarket. Soon I was ready to expand so I could meet the growing demand for high quality products in South Africa.”
“With the purchase of a new location and the extension of my assortment with peppers, I faced new challenges. There were issues around water quality and a lot to learn about the new crops and new greenhouse structures. Through many in-depth discussions around cultivation and crop management I could once again took full advantage of my network.”
"I learned that being an entrepreneur in agribusiness means dealing with many unexpected events, such as when a root disease hit my crops. I lost up to 70% of the plants but used this setback to further improve my business. Together with Rijk Zwaan and a local plant raiser I investigated the possibility of grafting, which I now do standard for all of my crops."