Africa, News January 2023

Challenges and opportunities for South African potato farmers

Even as South Africa’s potato industry feels the weight of adverse production conditions, high input costs and rolling blackouts, producers have reason for optimism, reports Glenneis Kriel in a news article for Farmers Weekly.

The local potato sector aims to increase annual production from about 2,6 million tons to 3,2 million tons over the next five years, according to Dirk Uys, research and innovation manager at Potatoes South Africa.

This would be achieved by protecting processors against the “dumping” of cheap potato product imports, growing local processing capacity, and developing “new uses for potatoes” that could create value for lower grades, Uys said.

“There are numerous opportunities for investment [in] and expansion [of the industry] through the Agriculture and Agro-processing Master Plan, but these need to be underpinned by a consistent power [supply], and a conducive operating environment.

The potato sector also had to deal with severe rolling blackouts in the latter part of 2022, which negatively affected irrigation, packing and processing, and resulted in shortages of potatoes. This had been further exacerbated by high input costs.

Source: Farmers Weekly. Read the full story here
Photo: Credit Farmers Weekly

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