Blueberry, Cherry and Raspberry (berry) production is a potential alternative land use opportunity in the Limpopo Province (LP) of South Africa (RSA). RSA based site selection criterion and literature is limited. Haenertsburg and an area near Pietersburg (Polokwane) were identified for berry production potential. In Haenertsburg, most viable land is held by the timber industry. In Pietersburg, soil and climatic conditions vary greatly, representing a site selection risk. Using accepted site selection processes, a study was conducted which identified the need to select land qualities and characteristics (QC’s) appropriate to berry production. The study revealed key QCs’ and secondary QCs’. Key QCs’ must be adhered to for site selection, while secondary QCs’ have site-specific application. The key land qualities are climate, soil, water, topography and management. In order to design a land rating system (LRS), specific characteristic values were cataloged per quality and per berry. Characteristic values were assigned to a land rating system where S1 (highly suitable), S2 (moderately suitable), S3 (marginally suitable), N1 (currently not suitable) and N2 (not suitable). To test the LRS, a real, but non-representative resource assessment (RA) took place. The RA revealed the further need to incorporate land limits into site selection. QCs’ and land limit data was collected from existing sources and measured in situ where the data was insufficient. Finally the RA data was applied to the LRS through the process of matching. The matching precipitated the formation of a site selection process or tool, presented on tables. Each table represents a land quality. Water and soil criteria varied per berry, while topography, water and management were common to all three berries. Additionally, the site selection tool enabled the assessment of secondary QCs’. The assessment process is conservative, allocating the lowest land rating as the overall rating. This allows for the land user to address the most limiting factor from worst to least, thereby ensuring sustainable and good land use.
Dissertation (MInstAgrar (Land-Use Planning))--University of Pretoria, 2008.