At least R94 million in December alone; this is what heavy rains have cost South Africa’s tomato industry. This according to Clive Garret, marketing head of ZZ2, South Africa’s largest tomato producer.
Mzansi has been experiencing heavy rainfall this summer wreaking havoc on harvests of essential staple fruit and vegetables.
Garret told Business Insider South Africa that recent rains resulted in South Africa’s five main fresh produce markets receiving between 500 to 700 tonnes fewer tomatoes daily in December.
“If one takes a conservative price of R7/kg and a shortage of 500 tonnes per day, then the loss for December would be in the region of R94 million,” Garret said.
As a result of decreased tomato volumes delivered to markets, prices shot up from R7 per kilogram to R12 per kilogram between the start of December to the end, an increase of 71%.
However, volumes are reported to have already improved. No significant impact on the volumes is expected this year.
4 000 hectares of vegetation lost in fire
Some 300 firefighters have been battling the blaze the fire in the Overberg region of the Western Cape which is reported to have started in the department’s pine plantation in the Kleinmond area. More than 4 000 hectares of vegetation is reported to have been destroyed in the fire.
Forestry, fisheries and the environment minister Barbara Creecy said her department has noted with concern the fire which emanated in Kleinmond.
“As a matter of course, the fire protection association in the area (Overberg) is expected to compile a fire report regarding the facts pertaining to the source or origins of the fire,” said Creecy.
A structure has reportedly burned, but no loss of life has been reported.
The fire in the Kleinmond area of the Overberg, her department reports, has been fuelled by high temperatures and gale force winds.
The wildland fire is also believed to have burned more intensely in areas rife with alien invasive vegetation. However, natural fynbos vegetation, which is destroyed during a wildfire, is dependent on fire to germinate and thrive.
In the interest of public accountability, the director-general of the department has asked the acting CEO of SANParks to undertake an assessment of the Kleinmond fire.
“The services of SANParks have been enlisted since they have internal capabilities to undertake an assessment of this nature.
“The scope of the assessment will include the origins and causes of the fire, whether fire breaks and other preventative measures were in place and any other factor that may have exacerbated the fire,” said the minister.
Once the assessment has been received and processed by the Department, the findings and recommendations will be made public.
Meanwhile on the ground all hands are on deck to assist with suppression efforts at the fire in Kleinmond. Creecy has commended the firefighters who have been battling the blaze.
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