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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Fruit farmers fight fungus from floods

Heavy rains and flooding have made it difficult for Limpopo fruit farmers to control a fungus threatening to destroy their produce, Agri SA said on Wednesday (23 January).
The black spot bacteria rendered fruit from the farms unsuitable for trade, Agri SA's deputy president Theo de Jager said.

The bacteria -- prevalent throughout the farming season, but favouring wet conditions -- could be prevented by spraying the fruit with a copper-based chemicals.

"Some farmers are experiencing trouble getting into the orchards to be able to spray the fruit, because of the heavy rains," De Jager said.

"Others have lost lots of money after they sprayed their fruit before the heavy rains and will now have to spray them again," he said.

De Jager, who owns 12 hectares of an avocado farm, said it cost him around R13,000 to treat his fruit.

"While there are other black spot-preventing fungicides on the market, exporters were only allowed to use ones containing copper," De Jager said.

The black spot bacteria had no direct impact on the taste of the fruit, but it did tarnish the product ,which was then sold at lower prices or used to make other foods and juices.

Source: Sapa via I-Net Bridge