Loadshedding threatens SA’s food security Christo van der Rheede

JOHANNESBURG. – Should the South Africa government continue to fail to solve the problem of the rolling blackouts implemented by the Eskom, South Africans can expect crop failure, higher food prices and shortages of certain food products in the near future, says Agri SA

The agricultural organisation’s executive director, Christo van der Rheede, said yesterday that a declaration of a state of disaster alone would not avert this threat; what was required was a targeted relief.

He said load shedding had more than doubled between January and September last year compared to the same period in 2021. 

“As a result of this catastrophe, the agricultural sector lost more than R23 billion during the nine-month period under review. This loss could be exceeded in 2023, threatening the sustainability of the sector and the 800 000 jobs it provides.”

Given the magnitude of the threat, AgriSA said it had submitted a letter to the National Disaster Management Centre which details the far-reaching implications of load shedding for grains, livestock, poultry, fruit, vegetables, sugar, edible oils and others. The organisation said these industries were central to the ability of South Africa to feed its people.

Van der Rheede said that as President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his State of the Nation Address (Sona) this week, the only way to guarantee food security in South Africa would be an announcement of immediate action by the government and Eskom to relieve the crippling burden of load shedding on farmers.

Agri SA said that unless these measures were implemented, a catastrophe loomed for the country because of load shedding. It said farming operations would be disrupted as equipment was damaged because of power failures, the cost of food production would increase as farmers were forced to irrigate at peak prices, and labour costs would soar due to irregular work hours based on load-shedding schedules. – IOLNews

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