Agrarian Trust

South African Farms Face Hurdles for Country’s Food Security

If any of the 3% of South African farmland supplying 95% of formal sector food fell out of large-scale production, it could have serious consequences for the country’s food security.

From an article about a recent World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) report:

The WWF report, “Farming Facts and Figures”, provides a snapshot of the country’s agricultural sector which is at a crossroads. It said the sector was faced with serious problems, including volatility in international oil prices, depleted soil, polluted and over-extracted water re-sources, uncertainty about land reform and labour discontent. An added factor was climate change, which would “redraw the agricultural map” of what could be grown where, when and in what quantity.

South African farmers could produce most of the country’s food needs, but the 25 percent increase in the population between 2000 and 2013 and the increasing middle class meant more people were eating meat and diary products, which required a more intensive form of farming than for vegetables, grain and fruit.

With farmers already having to deal with dwindling natural resources and limited investment in the sector, “they are not keeping up”. South Africa had recently become a net importer of some “key foods”, including wheat, meat, rice, sugar and poultry.

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