With loadshedding being the most urgent threat to South Africa's farmers, the government is focusing on allocating resources to boost farmers' resilience, while ensuring sustainable food production
The Budget Speech comes on the heels of the State of the Nation Address by President Ramaphosa, in which a number of interventions were announced to help alleviate the electricity crisis. Agri SA is deeply concerned about the confluence of challenges that have come together to make food production in South African especially difficult at this time.
For the sake of the public and workers who rely on the sector for sustenance and livelihood, the organisation believes that these challenges need to be prioritised in the budget, seeing it as the only way to prevent sharp increases in food prices, food shortages, and job losses in South Africa.
On 22 February, Minister Enoch Godongwana delivered a solid budget that was welcomed by Agri SA. The budget reflected a sober analysis of the operation environment, demonstrating an understanding of the numerous difficulties faced by the sector, with significant implications for food security.
Agri SA has acknowledged the measures adopted to assist the agricultural sector, while the government is working to put Eskom on a firmer footing. The implementation of the Fiscal Support Package to address the energy crisis will also go some way to assisting both households and businesses in this difficult environment.
The planned spending of more than US$26.6bn on critical infrastructure including transport and logistics, as well as water and sanitation also reflects the Treasury’s understanding of the essential contribution of these vital projects to the national economy and the country’s food security.
Agri SA is satisfied overall that Minister Godongwana has understood the context in which the budget was delivered. This is a critical moment for an agricultural sector that is being battered by loadshedding.