Experts claim that the dramatic increase in South Africa’s average winter temperature over the past 40 years has altered the susceptibility of apples to fungal disease. It seems that fungi are showing a much faster adaptation rate to changing temperatures than apples. Apple orchards in the coastal regions of the Western Cape, such as Elgin, are affected to a greater extent by rising winter temperatures than those in the colder inland regions such as the Koue Bokkeveld.
“There are farms entering the second year with no water at all,” says a Klein-Karoo stonefruit farmer. “For the second year in a row their farm dams are bone dry.” There have been small amounts of sporadic rainfall over parts of the Klein-Karoo, but of the good winter rainfall over the southwestern Cape, they have had nothing.
A new app developed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization will help South African growers track the fall armyworm outbreak and access resources on how to combat it. The fall armyworm attacks maize, wheat, and sorghum at all crop stages, entering the critical organs of the plant and preventing it from growing.
The primary objective of the project is to develop a regionally harmonised framework for development and implementation of recognised Pest Free Areas (PFA) and Areas of Low Pest Prevalence (ALPP) for regulated fruit fly pests of commercial fruit commodities in southern Africa (South Africa and Mozambique).
According to agricultural meteorologist Johan van Den Berg, severe drought conditions still dominate large parts of the Northern Cape, and were prevalent in “smaller patches” of the Eastern Cape. “Some rainfall occurred in February in parts of the Northern Cape, but it was very patchy and very little follow-up rain occurred.
US oranges and South African mandarins have seen harvest increases compared to the previous season of 1% and 8% respectively. Argentinian and Turkish oranges, on the other hand, both saw declines in the harvest of 10%. Demand has been increasing as more customers, especially in Europe and North America, are purchasing products high in Vitamin C.
The declaration of a nation-wide state of disaster that appeared yesterday in the Government Gazette has taken agricultural organizations by surprise, given that large parts in the east of the country recently received good rains. In a statement Agri SA, an agricultural industry association said: "The rationale behind this national disaster declaration remains unclear due to good rains and good production prospects in most provinces."
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