Vicaa plugs and pellets help to transform the industry in South Africa

The medical cannabis industry is exploding in South Africa. By the end of 2022, the country will have nearly 80 official licensed growers, four times the current number. We talk to Jules Kieser, the Director of Camel Thorn Horticulture. Camel Thorn supplies an impressive number of growers in South Africa and beyond with Vicaa products for propagating both clones/cuttings and seedlings.

Hello Jules, can you tell us a bit about Camel Thorn?

We’re a small team based out of Johannesburg. We started importing and distributing Jiffy horticulture products in 2016. When Jiffy launched their Vicaa range in 2021, we could see there was huge potential among growers looking to achieve superior results.

What’s different about Vicaa?

The Vicaa range really is unique: We can guarantee its performance. Unlike the competition, the content of the growing medium is completely consistent from one shipment to the next. Our customers know they will get repeatability as well as global RHP- and ISO-certified quality standards. And we can supply the products all year round.

What are your bestsellers?

Our 7C pellets, produced by Jiffy, have been particularly well received. The 40mm x 45mm size is perfect for cannabis propagation. And Preforma plugs are now our biggest sellers for clones.

What’s the secret of Preforma’s success?

Growers have told me that Preforma plugs cut their rooting time by 30%. That’s huge in terms of labor and water costs.

And 7C’s?

Rooting of clones is very fast with 7C’s so they are also used widely for seedlings. The pellets are made from 100% coconut pith, so they’re an all-natural, plastic free product. We also have organic versions. Plus, they’re delivered dehydrated, which saves massively on freight and storage.

Any downsides?

Well, Vicaa products are sophisticated and can seem expensive at first. Luckily, we have good people at Camel Thorn who take the time to

explain how to get the most out of a Preforma plug or 7C pellet. It’s encouraging to see how growers’ knowledge has increased and that these products aren’t foreign to them anymore.

Where do the products come from?

Preforma plugs are made in the Netherlands and we import them direct through Durban and Cape Town. The pellets come from Jiffy’s own manufacturing plants in Sri Lanka and are also shipped to South Africa for us. Then we road freight them and many other premium horticulture solutions around the country and to places like Lesotho, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

What are you most proud of?

I like to think we’re helping to transform the industry. One of our big customers takes about 25 boxes of Preforma plugs a month for their facility in Lesotho – that’s about 19,000 pellets. They use the tissue culture method and then transplant the young plants into the Preforma plugs, and they are very happy with the results.

Another international customer uses Preforma plugs for its cuttings. They say the rooting time is down by about a week and that Preforma just grows a better plant all-round. Both these customers were looking for specific solutions, and ours was the right one for them.

What’s next for you and Camel Thorn?

We’re going to be offering an even wider range of Vicaa products, including substrates for commercial and home growers.

For more information on Vicaa please contact your area manager or use the contact options below.

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