As consumers stockpile in fear amid the Covid-19 pandemic, AgriSA has said “there is enough food to feed the nation” AgriSA has said. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)
As consumers stockpile in fear amid the Covid-19 pandemic, AgriSA has said “there is enough food to feed the nation” AgriSA has said. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

There is enough food to feed the nation, says AgriSA amid Covid-19 panic buying

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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Cape Town - As consumers stockpile in fear of disruptions to global food chains amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and questions as to whether SA could experience food shortages, AgriSA has said, “there is enough food to feed the nation”.

Around the world, including parts of South Africa, there have been reports of empty supermarket shelves as consumers begin panic buying groceries.

Urging South African consumers to stop panic buying, Agri SA deputy executive director Christo van der Rheede said: “South Africa is food secure and our food supply chain is fully operational and healthy.

“South African farmers have not stopped farming. Precautionary health measures are in place to protect farmers and farm workers.

“The agricultural sector is working with the government to prioritise and guarantee the supply of fresh and essential agricultural products. The value chains that supply the products daily have the necessary precautions in place to protect workers and to keep supplies moving. In case of further restrictions, the harvesting, processing, distribution, delivery, and sale of agricultural products and groceries will be exempted from this.”

Chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of SA (Agbiz) Wandile Sihlobo said: “On a national level for most food products, South Africa is an agriculturally-endowed country, and is generally a net exporter of agricultural and food products.”

Agbiz has placed its forecast for food price inflation this year at about 4% year-on-year compared to 3.1% year-on-year in 2019. The uptick in food price inflation compared with the previous year is associated with a potential increase in meat prices, rather than the Covid-19 pandemic.

While the implications of Covid-19 on food price inflation remains unclear in the near term, Sihlobo said: “South Africa has ample food supplies for 2020, and therefore, there is no need for panic buying.”

@MwangiGithahu

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Cape Argus

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