SA farmers confident of increasing investment despite drought
Author: Tshepiso Mokhema
Farmers in SA, which produces about a fifth of the continent’s meat and corn, are confident about increasing investment despite the worst drought in more than a century and government policies that have created uncertainty about their land holdings. As many as 70% of growers are reinvesting in their businesses, Ernst Janovsky, the head of agribusiness at Johannesburg-based Barclays Africa Group, said by phone on Wednesday.
“Confidence levels remain high,” Omri van Zyl, CEO of farmers’ lobby group Agri SA, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s offices in Johannesburg. “The guys that may not make it get quietly gobbled up by others, so the production base is getting smaller but the units are getting larger and more diversified.”
Last year, SA, a net exporter of agricultural products, had the least rainfall since records started in 1904, damaging crops and herds and raising food prices. Farmers will need as much as R16.6bn in the year through March to subsidise feed purchases, provide grants and interest-rate subsidies to aid commercial growers in financial distress and help operators pay workers, a study by Agri SA and others showed.
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