Crop farmers say they are faced with many challenges as a result of climate change. They say they have to cope with drought, floods, soil erosion and biodiversity loss.
Molefi Moleme has been a farmer for almost 10 years and he says it is not easy. “The challenges the farmers are facing now is too much rain that we received because sometimes after planting on that day the rain can be too much – up to 70% and then we have to replant again.
“Now that thing wastes a lot of your money because maybe you’ve planted on that day 60 hectares, 60 hectares to plant is too much money. Another thing is, maybe you’ve planted last week and this week it rains when the plants are trying to germinate, and the plants now don’t need too much water because the soil becomes stagnant and they will wield and die,” says Moleme.
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Crop farming research
Meanwhile, the University of the Free State has established a crop farming research platform in an effort to help role players in the industry.
The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Science at the university says its research will assist small-scale farmers with business management and self-sustainability.
The platform will communicate research results to the wider sector, which includes industry partners as well as national and international collaborators.
“We try to improve crops to the point where they will be able to handle the drought situation. With biotic stress, we work on improving crops to be able to be resistant against certain diseases cause for every crop that’s out there. There’s a specific disease and for that, you have to understand the fungus of the bacteria that are involved in this disease. That’s what we are trying to do as the research is to improve the crops till you can have high enough yield and also a high-quality product,” says the Coordinator of UFS Crop Research Platform, Dr Adre Minnaar-Ontong.
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