South Africa: Rainbow Nation. And no one at AutoPot loves rainbows as much as International Sales Manager, Dave Gulliver – hell, he even tries to create them around the house! Lot of water, lot of wattage. No surprise then to learn that both he and his loved ones were happy to see him out sating his thirst for “d’bow” in Cape Town this April. Yet there were to be tears before bedtime: South Africa is in the non-existent depths of profound drought brought on by, amongst other factors, incredibly poor rainfall. Fortuitously Dave was also out there representing AutoPot Watering Systems. Our zero-waste-water irrigation represents one of the few viable options for a growing in a country suffering from such severe water shortages.
To put the shortages in perspective; everyday actions like running taps, showering or flushing toilets have been prohibited, restricted or painstakingly metered, not for the past few months but for several years now. On the face of it our systems are a shoe-in for the marketplace, perhaps we could have dropped in and put our feet up. Never gonna happen. Dave was keen to get an appreciation of what water conservation actually means for growers on a day-to-day basis. Armed with the facts, gleaned from an intensive programme of conferences, he was able to create tailored packages for each of the many and varied commercial growers with whom he met.
Windell, our South African distributor, gave us a huge head-start in understanding how our systems fit in with growers needs. We were introduced to a great many of their satisfied customers and got an excellent feel for the evolving grow scene down there. Water conservation aside, there are other factors current affecting the South African marketplace. Recent landmark legal rulings have played a key part in the evolution of South African cultivation, especially in the home. High court decisions have effectively decriminalised growth of cannabis in private, provided the plants are for personal use.
Decriminalisation has sparked a great deal of interest in home growing but with water use strictly controlled domestic growers require systems that maximise efficiency. Coupled with interest in potential uses for cannabis, decriminalisation has inspired advocates and industry figures to stage events such as The Cannabis Expo. These events bring together cultivation knowledge and introduce the uninitiated to the intricacies of growing. In terms of exploring a market that requires efficient systems and getting up to speed with developments in South African cultivation a visit to the Expo was too good a chance to pass up.
Over the three days of the Expo Dave became imbued with the particulars of South African legislation and the likely implications of forthcoming commercial licences. Windell put up a splendid range of AutoPot Watering Systems on their stand. These attracted a great deal of attention and served as a great introduction for visitors and Dave alike.
Having made waves in Cape Town Dave set out to find some like-minded movers and shakers on the ocean. He’s normally more au-fait with Wales watching than whale watching (Shrewsbury lad with one eye trained on the border). Nonetheless, Dave’s final day saw him set to sea to see a Cetacea. As it happened he went fourteen better than that. Dave had a marvellous afternoon on the briny blue, smiling and waving at a pod of fifteen Southern Right Whales, another group of mammals who really know how to use water to their advantage.