The marathon drought in the Northern and Eastern Cape is escalating into a humanitarian crisis. The western part of the Eastern Cape and adjacent parts of the Northern Cape have been suffering from drought for at least the past seven years and farmers are in the depths of despair, according to Doug Stern, Agri Eastern Cape president.
The four farmers and one farm manager arrested for, among other charges, the alleged murder of two men in Mpumalanga’s Dirkiesdorp area near Piet Retief in the Mkhondo Local Municipality on 9 April, were released on R10 000 bail each by the Piet Retief Magistrate’s Court on 30 April.
The case of an 80-year-old Limpopo farmer, David Rakgase, who recently received the title deed for the 3 000ha farm he had been leasing from government for at least 20 years, has highlighted the failures in South Africa’s land administration systems.
Farm prices in South Africa are currently in the process of recovery, broadly reflecting good rainfall and subsequent high crop yields, as well as general regional economic realities.
South African farmers will now have direct access to advice and assistance with labour matters, while being represented on several national labour forums.
Following a shortage of tomatoes and resultant sharp spike in prices since February this year, the situation is expected to normalise in the next two weeks, with supplies on South Africa’s fresh produce markets increasing and prices dropping.
In March, South Africa’s headline inflation increased slightly to 3,2% year-on-year (y/y), up from 2,9% reported in February.
Mpumalanga Agriculture has expressed concern about some government leaders and members of the public pre-judging the five accused who have appeared in the Piet Retief Magstrates’ Court in connection with the killing of two men on a farm in the district earlier this month.
A second case of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) has been reported on a North West broiler breeder farm, where 14 000 birds have been culled.
Although South Africa’s cotton industry celebrated production growth of 800% over the preceding five years in 2019, the industry has shown a 40% decrease in hectares planted to the crop during the past two seasons.
The North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is expected to start culling 15 000 pigs infected with African swine fever (ASF) on a farm near Potchefstroom in North West.
It is not yet clear whether the outbreak of African horse sickness (AHS) in the protection zone of the Western Cape will have an impact on the EU’s auditing of the local horse industry to allow direct exporting of horses to the region.