Johan van den Berg, manager of specialised crop insurance at Santam, said there was a 90% probability that normal weather conditions would prevail until April next year. “The sea temperature is cooler on the eastern coastline and this is positive for SA’s rainfall patterns, as there’s minimal interference from the Indian Ocean.”
However, Van den Berg warned that the sun-spot cycle was reaching its peak, which opened a window for a serious dry spell during the next five years. “Risks for droughts are increasing and just because you were safe this year doesn’t mean you’ll be safe next year. Farmers will have to learn to manage droughts and floods on their own and find ways to mitigate risk,” he said.
Van den Berg added that although climate change could not be quantified, it did pose a serious risk to farmers. “The southern hemisphere has seen more erratic climate behaviour and we will see more below-normal rainfall years than above-normal.”