Task team to monitor impact of load-shedding on agri sector

The agriculture industry is being impacted by the exacerbated loas shedding. PHOTO: iStock

A task team comprising the government, agriculture sector participants, and energy specialists has been established to continuously monitor the impact of load-shedding in the sector and its ability to ensure food security.

According to a statement issued by the South African government, the task team was established earlier this month when the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, met with leaders of the agriculture sector and food, fibre, and beverage value chains 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 costs for the minister’s attention. They also highlighted the threat to food security if continuous load-shedding continues to take place at short notice, without joint strategies on how to mitigate the impact through contingency plans and predictability,” said the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development.

The department added that the 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 under way 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.

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

Compiled by Justine Fortuin