Tropical cyclone Dineo, which is expected to hit South Africa later today, has weakened significantly and has been downgraded to a tropical depression.
However, it could still cause significant damage to the agricultural sector, in particular, South Africa’s multi-million dollar macadamia nut industry.
According to an independent advisor to the macadamia nut industry, Stephan Schoeman, there were particular concerns about heavy rain, flooding and possible wind damage in the major growing areas.
The South African Weather Service has forecasted that the greatest impact would be experienced overnight and tomorrow morning, when heavy rain could be expected over the entire eastern half of Limpopo (including the Kruger National Park), with rainfall between 100mm and 200mm.
“More than 100mm of rain in an hour would have a [severely] detrimental impact on our orchards, causing soil erosion, which could wash away essential organic matter,” according to grower Edwin Green of Green Farms Nut Company (GFNC), which has farms in Mpumalanga and Mozambique.
Strong wind could also blow immature nuts off trees making them unmarketable, while trees with poorly developed or unhealthy root systems could be blown over, he said.
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