South Africa’s rain-fed agriculture is predicted to face challenges in the near future due to a projected decrease in rainfall.
Despite recent heavy rainfall and flooding in some areas of the country, an El Niño weather pattern is expected to occur by October 2023, leading to drier conditions throughout South Africa. Wandile Sihlobo, the chief economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber, expects that farmers will encounter difficulties due to the dry conditions, and recommends the use of soil moisture conservation methods to prepare for the upcoming season.
The agricultural situation in South Africa is currently favourable, but other agriculture companies have warned of a difficult year for the industry due to the ongoing energy crisis, which is expected to lead to food shortages and price hikes for certain foods.
Roelie van Reenen, a supply chain executive at Beefmaster Group, has warned of a collapse of critical infrastructure in the agricultural community, mainly due to load shedding, which is damaging businesses across the agricultural supply chain.
Farmers need irrigation to water crops, but due to load shedding, this is not possible, and prolonged load shedding could lead to food shortages and price hikes for certain foods, with farmers unable to absorb the cost of regular power cuts.
Astral Foods, a major poultry producer, warned that continuous load shedding and the decay of municipal infrastructure were causing business disruptions and would ultimately increase costs, leading to higher food prices. The majority of South Africans are expected to feel the impact of the crisis in their finances as grocery bills rise due to scarce products.
Read: Daily Feed