DURBAN – The recent heavy rains has had a negative impact on the farming community pushing up the prices of food staples like tomatoes and potatoes.
According to reports, the price of tomatoes increased by 21% while potato prices shot up by 39%.
AgriSA executive director Christo van der Rheede, said he doesn't think the rains will pose much of a threat for the new year as crops are grown across areas that experience rains in different parts of the year.
He said costs were impacted by supply and demand and during the festive season, there is a demand for fresh produce.
“A lot of people are buying stock at this time. Yes, the rain will be a setback but produce is produced in different areas so we expect this to bring the price down,” he said.
Van der Rheede highlighted the fact that farmers are often massively impacted by increasing petrol and diesel costs. He said other factors that impact on farmers and pricing, is the increasing costs of fertiliser.
“Our biggest challenge at this point is the massive spike in fertiliser prices. Also (the cost of) herbicides, labour and packaging have increased,” he said.
Van der Rheede said the sector is also impacted by the rise in fuel costs.
“We pay a large percentage for fuel levies but then we have to question the state of our roads and where that levies go. A lot is spent on infrastructure which is critical to transport the produce from the farm to the markets,” he said.
AgriSA said the country cannot afford to risk food security.
“We must make sure that our logistic systems and markets are really top class and harbours are top class so that we can export to the rest of the world,” he said.
He said the sector is hoping that prices will come down, especially in the new year.