South Africa: Langkloof hailstorm damages apple and pear crops

A hailstorm that has struck parts of the Langkloof caused significant damage in the area. Apple and pear crops were among the main produce affected.

Marius van der Westhuizen, a Langkloof representative for Hortgro, said the recent hailstorm affected about 1,500 ha of the nearly 5,500 ha pome fruit production area in the Langkloof. Uniondale, Ongelegen, Misgund and parts of Haarlem were the areas affected.

Van der Westhuizen did not want to comment on the extent of the damage as it differed from cultivar to cultivar, as well as from farm to farm.

He added that the full scope of the damage would likely be apparent in the next week or so as producers determined their losses.

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However, according to farmersweekly.co.za, he did describe the damage as a huge setback for producers.

“Last season, the agriculture sector experienced a difficult production year, especially due to COVID-19 and the challenges it posed for the industry. For a farmer to suffer hail damage at the beginning of a new production year will definitely have a negative impact on his/her business and finances. It will also leave many farmers in a very difficult position,” said Van der Westhuizen.

He added that it was also important to take into account that such a setback affected not only producers but also the entire value chain, especially seasonal workers.

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“If there is hail damage, there is obviously less work on the farms and in the packhouses. Such an event is very bad for the economy of the Langkloof, especially since large-scale unemployment is already being noticed [on] the platteland. ”

According to Jacques du Preez, Hortgro’s general manager for trade and markets, despite the recent damage to crops in the Langkloof, the apple and pear crops for the other production regions looked good. He added that the industry would soon release a crop estimate.

Photo Credit: Renard Oelofsen

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