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Potatoes are the most common staple food most people in South Africa use to prepare various meals.
This sector employs an average of 55 000 people. The country’s leading producing regions of potatoes are Limpopo, Free State, Western Cape, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape.
According to the head of the WCDoA, Dr Mogale Sebopetsa, the MoU commits both parties to grow this potato industry to advance economic growth and increase employment opportunities.
Sebopetsa: “The MoU undertakes to build capacity, facilitate access to markets, and offer skills development programmes to enable mentorship to land reform beneficiaries within the potato sector.”
Willie Jacobs, CEO of Potato SA, welcomed the signing and commitments as a significant step forward for the industry. He further highlighted that the potato industry significantly contributes to South Africa’s fresh produce turnover.
Jacobs continued: “The potato industry is estimated to contribute at least R6,6 billion to South Africa’s economy and contributes 30 to 50% of the fresh produce turnover in the country.”
Commenting on the agreement’s significance, Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, said that WCDoA’s commodity approach was central to the MoU between the department and the potato industry.
“The WCDoA’s commodity approach is a strategy for farmer support across the agricultural value chains. This partnership with commodity organisations such as Potato SA strengthens the help rendered to land reform farmers,” Meyer said.
“Successful land reform happens when farmers can access natural resources, skills, mentorship, technology, and markets and make money,” concluded Meyer. – Press release, Western Cape Department of Agriculture
Moth damage is on the rise
The incidence of moth damage to potatoes has increased in the main production areas. This damage can be attributed to two moth species, the potato tuber moth (Phthorimaea operculella) which causes both foliar and potato tuber damage, as well as the tomato leafminer (Phthorimaea absoluta, previously Tuta absoluta) which attacks the foliage.