The drought which remained in effect in Western Cape and across much of the country in 2018 continued to affect potato plantings in southern parts of South Africa. Only about one-third of the usual plantings in the Koue Bokkeveld (Ceres area) are expected to be realised due to water supply constraints, although this is a relatively small area in terms of its contribution to the nation’s total potato crop.
Although average potato prices in South Africa were slightly higher in 2018 than in 2017, this was not enough to offset rising cultivation and distribution costs. It was thus a difficult year for the country’s potato producers, although the recovery of potato harvests in two of the country’s three major potato growing regions, Free State and Limpopo, resulted in some easing of the pressure on potato farmers.
With South African consumers increasingly interested in healthy diets, fresh beetroot is becoming more appealing, boosting sales of other starchy roots. Beetroot is often served in salads, while fresh beetroot juice is particularly popular for its health-giving properties.
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