South African farming: new policy offers promise, but there’s fixing to be done too

Source: Wandile Sihlobo, The Conversation, 20 January 2022, photo credit: 123RF/tvirbicks

For most agricultural subsectors, South Africa is emerging from one of the best years. The 2020/21 season saw bumper harvests for grains, oilseeds and some fruits. These boosted export earnings and improved farm incomes, especially for grains where the large harvest coincided with higher crop prices.

When it started the current season, 2021/22, promised to be exceptional. But the continuation of the heavy rains has proved to be a challenge for various regions, causing crop damage and delaying planting. The heavy rains of the new year are La Niña induced and follow another year of higher-than-average moisture. Various crop surveys have indicated a potential decline in harvests in 2021/22 as a result.

The year ahead could therefore be financially costly for the farming community if crop damage proves to be extensive. The devastation being caused is another reminder that climate change is driving unpredictable weather patterns.

Beyond the vagaries of the weather and the impact on crops, the year ahead offers a range of promising developments, as well as escalating difficulties if problems aren’t addressed.
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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) coordinates industry interventions and collaboratively manages risks in the value chain to enable the sustainability and profitability of pork producers in South Africa.