Didiza said that the 2021/22 agricultural season started with rising concerns that floods would damage crops in provinces, including North West, Free State, and parts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
“Also, farmers in various regions worried they wouldn’t complete the usual area for their produce, [and] negatively affect the agricultural economy. Through their resilience and dedication, South African farmers pushed through the heavy rains and continued to plant even beyond the usual optimal planting windows, which ends in November for the eastern regions of South Africa and in December for the western areas,” Didiza said.
The estimates released by the department’s Crop Estimates Committee, shows that the 2021/22 summer crop plantings are 4,21 million hectares, which is 0,4% more than the 2020/21 production season.
It also shows that there is a relatively decent area across summer crops and well above the average area for some.
“This data is comforting and the first bit of information that suggests that while the recent rains have been destructive in many regions, South Africa’s food security is still protected. The weather conditions for the next two months remain critical for the ultimate crop yields for the 2021/22 season.
“We remain optimistic that there will be reasonably good yields and, after that, sufficient crop harvest for our needs and neighbouring countries. I thank all the farmers that planted in these challenging past few weeks [and] our thoughts are also with the farmers that lost crops due to floods,” the Minister said.
She added that the department is collecting information on the areas that have experienced damage, and will work tirelessly to assist within the limits of available resources.
Summer crops comprise maize, sunflower seed, soybeans, groundnut, sorghum, and dry beans. – SAnews.