Concerned major stakeholders from Organised Agriculture, Organised Agribusiness, the banking sector and government institutions met on 10 November 2015 to discuss the effect of the rapidly deteriorating drought situation in South Africa on the broader agriculture sector and food security in particular. It is clear that the drought situation is not limited to South Africa, but has an extensive regional reach that will have further socio-economic and food security ramifications at regional level as well.
Good rainfall in the summer rainfall region of South Africa over the next months is possible and can still break the drought cycle and ensure relief for crop and livestock farmers especially. However, scenarios are increasingly pointing to a situation where significant imports of maize, as staple food crop, will become necessary, as well as the provision of fodder for breeding herds of livestock to be maintained.
While agricultural financiers will strive to the best of their abilities to assist farmers to survive the drought through debt consolidation and other means, they are also bound by, amongst others, stipulations of the National Credit Act in terms of strict lending practices that need to be adhered to.
Given the challenges that the broader sector faces, a Task Team of the major stakeholders, including Agri SA, Agbiz, Land Bank, IDC and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), as well as others to be invited, will draft action plans to assist in mitigating the indicated risks that this serious drought poses. This will include engaging with government to ensure food security and the sustainability of the industry.
Issued by Agri SA, Directorate: Corporate Liaison
Omri van Zyl, Designate Executive Director: Agri SA – 082 4175724
John Purchase, CEO: Agbiz – 082 4412308