by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – AGRICULTURE businesses have an important role in rebuilding South Africa after recent unrest.
This is according to an economist as the dust settles on the violence that rocked Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
“We are yet to fully understand the impact and financial costs of the devastation from the recent incidents of unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng in the agricultural sector,” said Wandile Sihlobo, economist at the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz).
He nonetheless said at a high level, it appeared that primary agriculture was broadly insulated from the direct damage.
“Still, the disruptions in various sugar mills, bakeries, eggs businesses and milling facilities, amongst others, impact primary agriculture by disrupting supply chains and slowing demand from these establishments.”
Small-to-medium scale farms that directly supplied the retailers are also affected as their typical market channel vanished in a few days, according to Sihlobo.
In collaboration with provincial departments and private sector players, the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development should assess the scale of this damage and devise potential response measures to sustain the agricultural sector in its robust form, he advised.
More than 300 people were killed during the unrest.
– CAJ News