Member statement in parliament: Government doesn't have any understanding of the crisis SA agricultural sector is experiencing

Dr Pieter Mulder

The South African agricultural sector is experiencing a very serious crisis and it appears as if government doesn’t have any understanding of it. According to media reports they don’t intend doing anything about it either.

To farm successfully, a farmer needs basic resources such as fertilizer, seed, tractors and diesel, to name but a few.

I have time for only a few figures:

In the last few years the price of fertilizer (ureum) increased by 92%; seed by 88%; tractors (70kw – 80kw) by 105% and diesel by 86%. Over the same period, maize prices only increased by 28%. A simple profit and loss sum shows why so many farmers go bankrupt or just stop farming. In the Bothaville district which falls in the maize triangle, 46 farms are current for sale. This gives an indication of the seriousness of the situation.

Add to this financial crisis, is the drought. In most provinces it is extremely dry for the second consecutive year. KwaZulu-Natal has already been declared a disaster area and provinces such as Limpopo, the Free State, North West and the Northern Cape are on their way there.

If government does not act timeously, we will be faced with abnormally high food prices and famine for some. Regardless of these facts, through irresponsible comments, government continues to make farmers the scapegoat for many problems which have been created by the ANC. Make a study of revolutions in other countries and discover in how many instances there was a direct correlation between famine and uprisings.

In his reaction on Dr. Mulder’s member statement the minister of agriculture, Senzeni Zokwana, said government plans to talk to the agricultural sector with the eye on taking measures to help with draught relief.

Dr. Mulder said his sceptical about this promise because of previous experience with the ANC government and the question has to be asked if any of these promises are going to realise amongst farmers on ground level.


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