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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Load shedding threatening food security in SA

Thokozile Didiza has expressed deep concerns about the impact of load shedding in agriculture and agribusinesses in the country.

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thokozile Didiza, has expressed deep concerns about the impact of load shedding in agriculture, agribusinesses and the broader food, fibre and beverages sectors.

Didiza met with leaders of the agriculture sector and food, fibre and beverages value chains last week, to assess the impact of load shedding on business activity and plans for the sector going forward.


The industry leaders conveyed the difficulties faced by businesses, workers and associated.

They also highlighted the threat to food security in the event that load shedding continues to take place at short notice, without joint strategies on how to mitigate the impact through contingency plans and predictability.

Alternative energy

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo said possible development of alternative energy sources within the sector was also analysed.

“The meeting resolved that the minister establish a small sector task team comprising government, industry participants and energy specialists that will continuously monitor the impact of load shedding in the sector and its ability to provide safe and nutritious food to South Africans.

“The technical work of measuring the financial costs is underway and will help draft the sector strategy. The task team will also explore short, medium and long term interventions to ease the burden of load shedding within the farming, food, fibre and beverages value chains,” he said.

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Didiza acknowledged the difficulty faced by businesses and thanked the leaders for their “heroic efforts” to supply food to the country under challenging conditions.

“Despite the current challenges, the agricultural industries will continue to ensure that availability of food and fibre is assured,” said Didiza

Food security

Meanwhile, the financial impact on farmers and agribusinesses or food security is not yet clear and will be difficult to quantify, Agbiz reported.

“At Agbiz, we have sent out a survey to collect critical data that will help us understand the scale of the financial impact of this crisis on the sector.”

“There are also food security concerns as the effect of load shedding will probably show in the volumes of products to be harvested/produced later in the coming months due to the time lag in agricultural production stages.”

Job losses

Agbiz said the other emerging concern is the impact on jobs if businesses are severely affected.

“There is a real danger that some farmers could lose their crops, which would impact the farms’ financial future and likely negatively impact agricultural financiers,” it said.

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