South African fruit & veg processing employed 15,000 in 2016

There were 55,105 people employed in food processing activities during the second quarter of 2016, with an estimated 15,000 working directly in factories processing fruit and vegetables. Read more…


Better season ahead for South African onion exports

Difficulty in competing with other exporters to the EU. Read more…


Watermelons: large supply depresses prices in South Africa

The 2015/16 season was an exceptionally good one for the watermelon industry, with a long, dry and therefore disease-free season. Consumers had a large appetite for watermelons during the heat of the drought, prices were high and consequently watermelon plantings increased for the 2016/17 season. Read more…


European grape market just about to get crowded

South African grape growers have enjoyed a good season, despite worries after last year’s droughts. The Northern regions have enjoyed some rain, easing the worries of the growers, and packing is still in full swing in the later regions where the weather is hot and ideal for harvesting and packing. There are however some concerns again about drought. Read more…


Why it’s hard to control the Fall armyworm in Southern Africa

The native range of the Fall armyworm – Spodoptera frugiperda – is in South and North America. But it’s rapidly spreading across southern Africa. This follows the first reports of its arrival on the African continent in Nigeria in January 2016. Within a year it spread, reaching South Africa by January 2017.
Understanding how armyworms breed, travel, and feed is critical to managing the devastation they can cause. They have a number of characteristics that make them particularly hard to control. This includes the fact that the moths are strong flyers, the fact that they breed at an astonishingly high rate and that their larvae can feed on a particularly wide range of host plants. In addition, they tend to develop resistance to pesticides. Read more…

After strong growth, South African potato exports down 18%

South Africa is self-sufficient in potatoes. 2015 was an exceptionally good year with a harvest of 250 million 10kg bags, which fell to 214 million 10kg bags in 2016 due to drought and excessive heat. This year it appears as if the area under potatoes is somewhat less, but a better harvest than last year can be expected. Read more...


Fall armyworm ‘threatens African farmers’ livelihoods

Scientists are calling for urgent action to halt the spread of a pest that is destroying maize crops and spreading rapidly across Africa.

The fall armyworm poses a major threat to food security and agricultural trade, warns the Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (Cabi).

It says farmers’ livelihoods are at risk as the non-native larvae threatens to reach Asia and the Mediterranean.

The Food and Agriculture Organization plans emergency talks on the issue.

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38859851