South Africa: Water shortages could constrain potato plantings

Severe drought conditions are affecting potato plantings in the southern parts of South Africa. Only about a third of the usual plantings in the Koue Bokkeveld (Ceres area) will realise due to water supply constraints. Whether the amount of water from boreholes will suffice to optimally irrigate this season’s potato crop in the southern areas of the country remains to be seen, says Dr André Jooste, CEO of Potatoes SA. “Before winter we might lose some more hectares since rivers and dams don’t have enough water. On average, the water levels of boreholes are still manageable, but for how long? Water quality is already providing some problems,” Dr Jooste continues. For 2018, depending on the amount of winter rainfall, fewer hectares of potatoes could be planted in the Sandveld. The Eastern Cape is equally acutely affected by the drought. Fortunately, the drought in the north of the country appears to have been broken. More