From a dream to reality and beyond.
2010 – 2014
The company Green Reeds (Pty) Ltd established the Aquaculture fish farm and was registered in Botswana in 2010 by Mazars Auditors. The company was a completely new venture and the owners, Pieter and Mari van Graan, decided to invest in Botswana after a longstanding relationship for more than 30 years with beef cattle farmers and the livestock breeding industry in Botswana.
The main vision was to build a flagship project for Botswana; to optimize the production of fish and specifically protein and extend the operations to value- added fish products. At the same time create jobs, contribute to food security in Botswana, contribute to poverty eradication as well as secure much needed currency influx for the country through exports.
The van Graans have extensive experience in farming in South Africa for a period of over 40 years. Pieter is a well-known Brahman cattle breeder and had judged many shows. Setswana is his second language and this gives him the ability to communicate well with the Batswana. Pieter has vast experience in crop farming such as soy beans, maize, sorghum, sunflower, vegetables, mango, citrus, litchis, various fauna and flora as well as cattle, sheep, goat, chicken and game farming. He has farmed on similar dry lands using drip and flood irrigation as well as center pivot irrigation.
Mari has extensive experience in human resources, administration, computer skills, sales and marketing, book keeping, general office management and financial management.
Together with well trained staff, they manage all operations on the farm which ranges from managing the current staff component of 36 people, to data capturing, spawning, weighing, feeding, moving, harvesting fish, install, built, erect and manage new developments, irrigation, crop production, etc.
2014 – 2016
The company currently operates the farm under a “commercial farming” Sub-Lease from Chobe Farms (Pty) Ltd on an area of approximately 162 ha, which is part of the whole Chobe farms. The fish farm started producing fish in February of 2016 after battling through various challenges, mainly bureaucracy, to establish the project.
Since the initial start up two other investors have joined Green Reeds (Pty) Ltd in January 2017, namely Danish African Development and Chobe Holdings Ltd together with Mr Jonathan Gibson, to form the trading company Golden Wrap (Pty) Ltd.
2017 – present
The company Golden Wrap (Pty) Ltd has been established since January 2017 for the purpose of developing and expanding the existing Chobe Bream Aquaculture Fish Farming project in Kasane. After assessing the great demand for fish and specifically protein in Botswana, it made sense to invest in this globally fast-growing industry to provide fresh fish to the local market, lodges and tourist facilities as well as distribute to the rest of Botswana.
Our company trades under the name Chobe Bream. We currently produce fresh whole bream, Oreochromis Andersonii or, as it is locally known, Three Spot Tilapia.
The Oreochromis Andersonii specie is indigenous to the Chobe Region. We are the only farm in Botswana to commercially grow the species. Although the specie is a slower grower than fish such as O. Niloticus or O. Mozambicus, it does out-compete both when it comes to taste and demand. We have experienced this as our customer base is spreading into countries such as Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe where cheaper O. Niloticus can be found. The market is growing rapidly with increasing opportunity to export the product.
Block B- RAS, Tilapia (possible catfish)
We currently use a specialised RAS (Reticulating Aquaculture System) with a capacity of 35 000 fish or 10 tons per month. This project consists of custom built, Israeli concept, greenhouse tunnel. It is 108m long with a 30 m width, with side curtains and vents that can open and close so that the heat can be regulated. Inside houses a separate hatchery, Broodstock division, growing division with tanks to accommodate the fish at different stages of growth and filtration system that cleans and recycles the water to be used again.
The purpose of such a system is to regulate the water temperature between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius throughout the year and protect the fish from predators such as birds and other wild animals. It also serves as protection from pathogens and parasites by cleaning of the water through filtration systems, and lastly this system has the advantage of using very little space to grow a large volume of fish. We have also started to investigate catfish and their spawning and growth patterns so that they may possibly be utilised for later possible sales due to the high demand for cheaper protein.
The installation of the Oxywise oxygen Generator and Speece cones, greatly increase the dissolved oxygen in the water.
The largest limiting factor is the amount of oxygen found within the water, as the higher the temperature and higher the altitude, the less oxygen can dissolve into water. This is resolved with the installation of our Oxywise system whereby oxygen is injected directly into the water going to the Speece cones where it will be dissolved. This increases the fishes ability to grow as they are able to consume more and devote more energy to growth as oxygen is readily available to muscle tissues.
Block A- Fish Earth ponds, 20 plus expansion to 36 ponds, Lucerne under irrigation
We have recently started with the construction on our new earth pond project to increase the production of fish up to 500 tons per annum. This will enable us to provide a larger amount of fish to the ever-growing demand for Three Spot Tilapia within all of Botswana and neighboring countries.
Development of the Earth ponds
The wastewater from the earth pond project will also be utilized in the proposed crop production of lucerne. Furthermore the planting of green mealies (maize) is planned under 8ha centre pivot, as well as establishing of banana, Avocado and Papino orchards on different sections of the farm. The project will utilise about 160ha land on part of the existing, commercial Chobe Farms, which is leased from Chobe Farms (Pty) Ltd for further period of 25 years with option to renew.
This project is currently under construction of the first 20 ponds. These ponds will be earthen (not lined) as we have suitable soil quality, this also allows us to fertilise the ponds using organic or inorganic fertilizers to grow algae that will feed the fish. We do aim to feed the fish formulated feed however the natural feed will provide constant grazing as well as oxygen production that will greatly benefit the fish. Depending on investment growth, we will be using paddle wheel aerators to provide additional oxygen to the fish, as the algae will produce carbon dioxide at night. This as well as high stocking density is not advised. The paddle wheel aerators will also allow for double stocking of the ponds and thus a higher production.
The lucerne will be placed under irrigation in the form of a 20 ha centre pivot. This lucerne will be baled and sold as cattle feed and it has been proposed that at a later date it will be cubed/ pressed into pellets for animal consumption.
Block C- 8Ha Crop production with 3Ha orchards
The aim is to use an 8 Ha (hectare) centre pivot to grow Green Maize for the first three years, after which we will change to Lucerne as well as growing Bananas, Avocados and Papinos in the corners of the farm. Furthermore we will be utilizing fish waste mentioned above from RAS and earthen ponds to fertilize and feed the crops resulting in an environmental approach to an otherwise more harmful chemical process. The project will utilise land on the existing Chobe Farms that has been actively farmed with irrigated crops during the past 35 years.
Our aim is to make the farm environmental and eco-friendly by rehabilitate the land and plant the orchards under shade net for maximum protection of the crops. This will result in less use of pesticides and other chemicals.
Other income: Kiosk/ Road stall/ Restaurant
At the gate of Chobe Farms a small Kiosk/ Road stall/ Restaurant is in the early developmental idea stage. The idea is that the kiosk will be the selling point for the fish farm and for the fresh fruits/ crops and their by-products from Block C and D.
Also in the future planning the opportunities exist to expand the project with establishing own retail /wholesale outlets in cities down South and rest of Botswana. There is also a big demand for fish fillets to restaurants, lodges and hotels countrywide. Other fish products and by-products could add to the expansion and diversification of this project with seemingly endless potential.