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Drought Cuts South Africa 2015 Wheat Crop 18% to Four-Year Low

Author: Tshepiso Mokhema

South Africa’s wheat production fell to a four-year low in 2015 as the lowest rainfall in more than a century damaged the harvest. Local farmers reaped 1.44 million metric tons, 18 percent less than in 2014, Marda Scheepers, a spokeswoman for the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Liaison Committee, said by phone Thursday. This is the smallest harvest since 2011, data compiled by the South African Grain Information Service show.


“The ongoing dryness led to significant crop losses in key wheat-producing areas such as the Swartland in the Western Cape province,” Wandile Sihlobo, head economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said by e-mail Wednesday. “All this has placed the country in a position where it’ll have to import about 2 million tons” in the year throughout Sept. 30, which would be the most since at least 1991, he said.


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