National disaster declared after heavy rains, 'some summer crops written off'
Government has declared a national state of disaster after some parts of the country experienced torrential summer rains.
The notice was posted in the Government Gazette after assessment of "the magnitude and severity of the severe weather events occurring in parts of the Republic that resulted in the loss of life and damage to property, infrastructure and the environment caused by flooding, strong winds, sink holes, landslides etc."
While the heavy rainfall has been wonderful for dam levels it has been disastrous for summer crops, causing severe damage and also delays in planting.
Farmers in the Free State and North West have been badly affected.
Bruce Whitfield interviews the CEO of Grain SA, Dr Pieter Taljaard
Taljaard describes the situation for maize farmers particularly as "very bad".
Luckily the weather is changing, he adds.
I've been on the road in the Free State and North West over the past week and there's a lot of damage.Dr Pieter Taljaard, CEO - Grain SA
There are a lot of farms that are going to lose a large percentage of their crop, but we must remember we're in mid-January - it's very early in the season and the last three days we have seen a lot of sunshine... meaning in the last few days there's a lot of additional maize that was added to the national crop.Dr Pieter Taljaard, CEO - Grain SA
However we can't take away from the fact that there are already a lot of crops that are totally written off.Dr Pieter Taljaard, CEO - Grain SA
He says it's difficult at this stage to estimate the impact on the national maize crop.
Is there still time for maize farmers to replant?
Taljaard says this is unlikely, as there is still standing water in a lot of the fields.
There's about a week or ten days left to replant crops and that's mainly sunflowers and perhaps some sugarbeans, but for maize in South Africa it's too late to replant.Dr Pieter Taljaard, CEO - Grain SA
Some of the maize farmers in the North West and Free State still have the opportunity to plant winter wheat in a few months though, he adds.
Dr Taljaard gives the assurance that there is enough maize for food security, as other areas of the country are still producing good crops.
Listen to the interview in the audio clip below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : National disaster declared after heavy rains, 'some summer crops written off'
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