A task team comprising of government, industry participants in the agriculture sector and energy specialists has been established to continuously monitor the impact of loadshedding in the sector and its ability to ensure food security.
The task team was established earlier this month when Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, met with leaders of the agriculture sector and food, fibre and beverages 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 in the event that continuous load shedding continues to take place at short notice, without joint strategies on how to mitigate the impact through contingency plans and predictability.
“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 Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development said.
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 load-term interventions to ease the burden of load shedding within the farming, food, fibre and beverages value chains.
The Minister 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,” Didiza said.
Source: South African Government News Agency