from NJABULO BUTHELEZI in Durban
DURBAN – NEIGHBOURING countries with strong trade links to South Africa have recovered from the recent unrest that hit the regional powerhouse.
However, the prolonged lockdown in South Africa driven by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis remains a major issue on food security in these respective economies.
These include Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
According to Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), in mid-July, political unrest, violence, and looting spree in South Africa temporarily disrupted the flow of traffic and goods into Zimbabwe.
This compounded impacts of ongoing land border closures to non-essential goods and services, driving short-term declines in the supply of some goods and services, though the situation is anticipated to normalize in the near future.
The recent unrest in South Africa also had short-term impacts on the supply chain Mozambique, among other markets with strong trade links to South Africa.
Crises in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal led o slowdowns along the main trade routes.
The stricter COVID-19 control measures are likely to constrain poor urban households in Mozambique.
According to FEWS NET, the prolonged lockdown in South Africa, driven by the third wave of COVID-19 cases, is likely to have some negative implications on Lesotho as these economies are well integrated.
South Africa currently has restriction measures in place at Level 3 of 5.
This includes reduced business hours, especially in the hospitality and entertainment industries that provide labor to some migrants.
“The slowdown of economic activities in South Africa will likely reduce labour migration and the flow of remittances to Lesotho, which is an important livelihood strategy for many poor households,” FEWS NET added.
Nonetheless, food markets are adequately stocked across Lesotho.
In Zimbabwe, market supply of staple grain and other food crops continues to increase following the harvest.
Staple food prices in June have continued to decline or remain stable in Mozambique.
Wandile Sihlobo, economist at Agricultural Business Chamber, believes agribusinesses have an important role in rebuilding South Africa after unrest ravaged the economy and livelihoods.
“For agriculture and agribusinesses, the stakes are high. This is a long-term investment sector,” he said.
– CAJ News