Fruit and vegetable farmers in the Western Cape will be hoping for good rains this winter to replenish dams and enable the province to maintain its share of supplies to the country. Unlike other parts of South Africa, which have experienced widespread rainfall in recent months, the Western Cape is still beset by drought, which affects those vulnerable fruits and vegetables that are largely produced under irrigation. "The [drought] situation is a concern in the sense that it could affect supply and the pricing of fresh fruit and vegetables," said Michael Cordes, general manager for the Institute of Market Agents of South Africa, which represents market agents of the country's 22 fresh-produce commission markets. The fruit and vegetable sector, which generates R39-billion in annual turnover, forms part of the wider horticultural sector. Excluding exports, the fresh-produce commission markets generate around R16-billion a year. Nearly half of the vegetables produced in the country are ...

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