Load shedding hits at a ‘vital time’ for agriculture
13 Feb 2019 - by
Stage 3 and 4 load shedding is “very serious” and will affect commerce and industry, coming at a particularly vital time for agriculture – as many farmers are planting for the season – according to the Cape Chamber of Commerce (CCC).
President of the Chamber, Janine Myburgh, reiterated president Cyril Ramaphosa’s words earlier this week, saying she was “shocked by the sudden dramatic increase in load shedding.
“How is it possible for six units to go down at the same time? It is just too much of a co-incidence and we must ask if this is not another case of sabotage.” She said this was sure to turn potential foreign investors away.
Chairman of the AgriSA Economics and Trade Centre of Excellence, Nicol Jansen, pointed out that electricity was an important input cost for many farmers, especially farmers that depended on irrigation.
According to him, the agricultural sector spent approximately R146 billion on intermediate goods and services in 2017/2018, of which electricity amounted to R7 billion (5%).
“Load shedding will have an impact on irrigation-reliant and energy-intensive industries like the horticulture, dairy, poultry, grains and agro-processing industry,” he said, adding that the negative impact affected producers.
“Over 25% of the country’s food is produced by irrigation-reliant and energy-intensive industries,” commented Jansen.
- Adele Mackenzie