What keeps SA agribusinesses up at night
The feedback about the near-term outlook was reasonably positive in all our engagements, with many attributing their optimism to the favourable 2022/23 summer crop and 2023/24 winter crop seasons. The feedback from the horticulture and wine industries also remained encouraging as various stakeholders forecast growth and expansion prospects in the coming years.
The outlook was less optimistic when we engaged the livestock and poultry industries that struggled with higher feed costs and persistent animal disease outbreaks.
Beyond this, what all meetings agreed on was that the persistent load-shedding, rising protectionism in key export markets, rising interest rates, intensified geopolitical tensions, ongoing weakness of municipality service delivery and network industries (water, rail and ports) and deterioration of rural roads remain a significant threat to the sustainability of their businesses.
While these are not necessarily new issues, the extent of weakness this year has reached worrying levels in some. Not all these issues are within the government's control, but many are, and in such cases, the government should urgently assist. Here are a few of such cases.
We discuss more in this week's podcast segment.
My writing on agricultural economic matters is available on my blog: https://wandilesihlobo.com/
Podcast production by: Lwandiso Gwarubana, Richard Humphries, and Sam Mkokeli