Categories: South Africa

Outlook: Uncertainty about potato production in 2017

The past two years were likely to be remembered as some of the most challenging times for South Africa’s potato…

The past two years were likely to be remembered as some of the most challenging times for South Africa’s potato production industry.

This was according to Dr André Jooste, CEO of Potatoes SA.

While producers harvested record-high yields in 2015, with prices realising well below break-even point, prices were substantially higher in 2016 as a result of crop losses due to drought and high temperatures.

Jooste said that improved weather conditions could result in better yields in early 2017.

However, he added that the widespread rain reported late in 2016 had occurred erratically and was accompanied by hail in some regions, which damaged the crop to be marketed in early 2017.

“The uncertain weather conditions experienced towards the end of 2016 make it very difficult to make any accurate predictions regarding the 2017 potato crop, especially considering the uncertainty experienced [over] the [last] two years,” he said.

The increase in the national minimum wage was one of the main challenges the industry would face in 2017, as potato production was particularly labour-intensive and labour costs contributed significantly to overall production costs.

Jooste said that in an environment where real production costs continued to increase, while potato prices remained under constant pressure, reduction in manual labour and the introduction of increased mechanisation were possible if minimum wages increased to unsustainable levels.

Recent Posts

Indigenous livestock perfect for small-scale farmers

Ross Rayner and his father, Roger, farm 40 Nguni cows and 35 Bosvelder-type ewes on 250ha in the Mankazana Valley…

21 hours ago

Researchers urged to get out into the field

More than 250 delegates are attending the annual Combined Congress of soil, crop production, weed and horticultural sciences, underway at…

23 hours ago

Praise for teamwork in containing foot-and-mouth outbreak

The rapid response by both government and the private sector to the recent foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the Vhembe…

23 hours ago

Homeland consolidation: a forerunner of land reform?

Zimbini Coka, a junior lecturer at the University of the Free State’s Department of Agricultural Economics, visited areas that became…

2 days ago

‘Parts of the Free state must be declared a disaster area’

The Free State consists of many economic sectors, but agriculture is the most important in terms of food security for…

2 days ago

White horses and black bulls

Camargue horses are used to manage the feral black cattle herds in the salty marshes of the Rhône River Delta…

3 days ago

This website uses cookies.