South Africa’s total land area is approximately 122.3 million hectares, on which about 52,355 hectares of potatoes are planted every year. According to stats by Potatoes South Africa, 83% of this is produced under irrigation, meaning water is applied to the soil through various systems of tubes, pumps, and sprays. The remaining 17% is irrigated by rainwater.
South Africa’s potato industry has undergone several challenges. A major one is the importation of cheap frozen potato products from other countries. The battle between the local potato industry and global importers has a longstanding history, with South Africa being considered a prime destination for dumping frozen processed potato products.
Impact of potato dumping
Potato SA’s head of marketing Willie Jacobs has explained that the practice of potato dumping holds some harmful consequences. These include further economic decline and hitting where it hurts most, the livelihoods of South African farmers and workers and their families. He added that irregular imports are detrimental to a viable local economy; hence the implementation of consistent anti-dumping measures is essential.