R100 Million Was Lost In December Alone Due To Heavy Rains

Image: Food For Mzansi

While many farmers appreciate rain in general, it has cost South Africa’s tomato industry at least R100 million in the month of December alone.

South Africa has been suffering torrential rains this summer, causing havoc on harvests of critical basic fruits and vegetables. For the tomato business, losses hit R94 million in December, according to Clive Garret, marketing director of ZZ2, South Africa’s largest tomato producer.

Recent rains have resulted in between 500 and 700 tons fewer tomatoes being delivered daily to South Africa’s five major fresh produce marketplaces in December, Garret added.

“Assuming a modest pricing of R7 per kilogram and a daily shortage of 500 tons, the December loss would be in the area of R94 million,” he said.

Prices increased from R7 per kilogram to R12 per kilogram between the start of December and the conclusion of the month, a 71 percent rise.

However, he noted that volumes have begun to increase and that no significant impact on volumes is predicted this year.

Dr Johnny van der Merwe, in his weekly video tracking the price movements of fresh food, predicted that prices would likely continue to rise if South Africa sees a wetter year.

Not only has the agricultural industry been impacted by severe rains, but also by hail damage in areas such as the North West, Free State, and Mpumalanga. Christo van der Rheede, executive director of Agri SA, stated.

“In the majority of locations, particularly in those areas, vegetable producers were also impacted, particularly with tomato, potato, and other crop plantings,” Van der Rheede added.

“However, if there is a scarcity in one location, it is compensated for by farmers in other places,” he explained.

He stated that several farmers had lost cattle, while others have reported major damage to their chicken enclosures.

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