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Heatwave set to hit quantity and quality of South Africa's agri produce

Starting this Friday, widespread heatwave conditions are expected across large parts of South Africa, affecting agricultural output and the quality of fresh produce and grazing.

Mbavhi Maliage, a forecaster of the South African Weather Service, told Farmer’s Weekly that temperatures were expected to rise in Gauteng from Friday, peaking at around 37˚C on Saturday/35˚C on Sunday.

She said that the Eastern Cape was already experiencing scorching heat in parts of the province, while North West, the Free State and Limpopo would not be spared. According to Maliage, preliminary reports suggested that the temperature would settle at about 30°C for most of Gauteng by Monday, and strong northerly winds would help cool the region by a few more degrees on Tuesday.

Louis Cilliers, managing director of Botha and Roodt Market Agency at the Tshwane Fresh Produce Market, said the heatwave would affect the quality of fresh produce, and farmers were also expected to deliver reduced quantities. Prices, however, would be likely to remain unchanged. This trend would be particularly evident in fruit such as watermelons, which are currently in season.

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