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The Competition Commission’s latest Essential Food Pricing Monitoring report makes for some worrying reading, not in the least because it shows an alarming drop in the number of farmers and other disturbing trends in the agribusiness sector.
For example: in 2007, South Africa had 3 899 dairy farmers, but only 1 053 in January this year.
It noted that “the agricultural value chain in South Africa is highly industrialised and characterised by the super commercialisation of production through largescale farming, as well as concentrated upstream inputs and concentrated processing”.
This means that there is a wide gap between prices for the farmer and the prices which consumers eventually pay, which is reflected in “growing margins” at processor and retailer level.
Added to that is the “general trend of price inflation” in some fresh produce because of global supply chain issues and exchange rate pressures.
Small farmers are particularly squeezed in the current situation as they battle poor yields, tough competition from large-scale operations and access to finance.
The solution: buy local and shorten the supply chain. Support farmers and suppliers in your area.
It’s good for the environment, it’s good for quality and good for the future because it will build up our farmers