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Background

Pico-Gro was established in 1995 by Erika and Machiel Oberholzer and Anina and Christo Rademan. During the first few years, Pico-Gro produced young plants primarily for the cut flower farmers of South Africa. As agents of Danziger, an Israeli based breeder of fillers for the cut flower industry, Pico-Gro was instrumental in the introduction of various new filler varieties to South Africa. Of these, Million Stars, a small flowering Gypsophila, is most probably the best known.

In time, the emphasis of Pico-Gro shifted to herbs and essential oil producing plants, an exciting branch of agriculture that is receiving more and more attention in South Africa.

Awards

Erika was recently chosen as the Female Farmer of the year in Gauteng. Her contribution to agriculture in South Africa in general, as well as her enthusiastic commitment to the establishment of essential oil farming as a viable business enterprise in South Africa, is the basis on which she received this award.

Experience and Training

Erika studied at RAU and received a BSc degree in Biochemistry and Botany. After completion of her honours degree in 1990, she joined the ARC (Agricultural Research Council) in Irene.

Erika Oberholzer: Essential oil and herb farming

After 8 years in formal employment, she decided that it was time to strike out on her own. With the help of her husband, Machiel, and dear friend, Christo Rademan, Pico-Gro was born.

In the ensuing years, she learnt through trials and tribulations and can truly say that her success in business is the result of hard years of schooling in the “University of Life”

In the 10 years since the establishment of Pico-Gro, hands on experience in both Propagation Technology and Business Management, was gained and the current success of Pico-Gro can be chalked up entirely to this.

In 2004, she added a qualification in Project Management to her résumé and is utilizing this knowledge both in the expansion of Pico-Gro and to assist emerging farmers in the establishment of various farming enterprises.

Machiel’s Masters degree in Engineering and his MBA are of great value in the construction and maintenance departments of a business such as Pico-Gro. He also plays an important role in the financial management and strategic planning of the business.

 

sustainable agriculture   sustainable herb farming  
herb plants   flower growers  emerging herb farmers

Affiliations
Pico-Gro is affiliated to a number of organizations:

   SA Veg
SA Vegetable Growers' Association
South African Vegetable Growers' Association

   IPPS
International Plant Propagators' Society
International Plant Propagators' Society

   PPECB
Perishable Produce Export Control Board
Perishable Produce Export Control Board

   SAFGA
South African Flower Growers' Association
South African Flower Growers' Association

   SANA
South African Nurseryman’s Association

South African Nurseryman’s Association

   SAGIC
SA Green Industries Council