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By Marizka Coetzer


New plan to improve food security

Load shedding also has an enormous impact on food security.

Is the country’s food security under threat, with lower agricultural productivity due to load shedding and water restrictions and continuous population growth?

At the eighth Africa Agribusiness and Science Week in Durban, the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centres and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa yesterday announced a three-year action plan would be presented this week to increase the generation and adoption of climate-smart agricultural technologies and innovations by millions of smallholder farmers.

ALSO READ: Load shedding threatening food security in SA

Experts will discuss how the plan addresses the evolving challenges facing Africa’s agri-food system and can accelerate the delivery of solutions for wealth creation, food and nutrition security, economic opportunity, poverty alleviation, shared prosperity, resilience, and sustainability.

TLU SA general manager Bennie van Zyl said: “Food security starts with the farmer and [whether] he can distribute products directly to the consumer. Many products are first processed and then cut, such as grain and meat,” he said.

Food security not about availability

Food security was not only about availability but also about quality and affordability and whether the food landed on people’s tables.

“SA farmers do what they can do, produce and put the products on the market. Demand will determine the price and [that] is also influenced by foreign countries and markets.”

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Van Zyl said high input costs had also added pressure. The Southern African Agri Initiative chair Dr Theo de Jager said: “Every country exports and imports food. South Africa is a big consumer of pap or bread, it’s our staple food.

“Although we are an exporter of maize, we are an importer of wheat. We do not produce enough wheat to meet our own demand.”

De Jager said SA used 3.2 million tons of wheat annually and produced just half of that.

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“Otherwise, we would live below the breadline.”

Load shedding

Load shedding had an enormous impact on food security, he said.

“It jeopardises what we … would produce and makes us more dependent on nature.”

De Jager said the need for energy on farms and during the processing phases has a damning effect on farmers to produce enough.

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“If people think load shedding was bad, what about our turn?” he said.

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