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Total crop failure in some parts of the Kingdom

By Phephile Motau

The dry spell coupled with the very high temperatures experienced in January has caused total crop failure in some areas of the country.

This was said by the Minister of Agriculture Jabulani Mabuza on Friday. He was speaking during the unveiling of the new National Maize Corporation (NMC) CEO.

Mabuza said he wanted to address another issue that was likely to be an imminent setback in the country’s food security endeavours. He said the ministry noted with concern the ongoing occurrence of the dry spell since the onset of 2023, where almost no rain was received to nurture crops.

He said this had been coupled with very high temperatures beyond the tolerance of crops, thus increasing the probability of crop failure. Mabuza added that the ministry was already getting reports of total crop failure in some communities, mostly in the drier areas, whilst also in the Highveld crops were also showing signs of water and heat stress.

“The ministry is very concerned with these developments as the season continues to unfold. We would like to express our sympathy to the farmers who have already incurred losses and those who may end up having less than expected yields due to the dry spell,” Mabuza said.

He said the ministry would soon embark on a crop assessment exercise to determine the extent of the damage and also reset the outlook of the likely harvest for 2022/2023.

Mabuza urged development partners, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector to come up with support and solutions that may be explored to ensure the country has adequate supplies of its staple food.

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