• South Africans should not be concerned about the availability of food during the current Covid-19 pandemic. This assurance has been given by the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), a Pretoria/Tshwane-based nonprofit organisation (created in 2004 to carry out scientifically rigorous and unbiased research relevant to the agricultural sector).

  • Extra virgin olive oil is the backbone of the Mediterranean dietand lauded for its health benefits. But when it comes to cooking with it or drizzling it on our food, is there really a difference between a generic bottle that you can get for $5 and a $39 estate oil made with a single olive variety?

  • South Africa has followed suit: the country's president has announced a total lockdown of 21 days, starting from midnight Thursday night during which citizens will only be allowed to leave home for emergencies and food, and international arrivals will be turned away.

  • The total number of farms/farming units involved in the commercial agriculture industry in 2017 was 40 122.

  • Pleasant autumn weather is set to continue over most areas, but conditions will be more favorable for rainfall over parts of the interior compared to the previous week.

  • In terms of the Regulation No. 398 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, the sector as a sector responsible for food security has been declared as essential.

  • The 21-day lockdown period may lead to a newfound respect for our food producers.

  • Ratings firm Moody’s has downgraded South Africa’s credit rating to below investment grade, after three years being the only major firm to keep the country’s head above water.

  • Lockdown regulations were the worst possible news for the local wine industry and will likely have a severe impact beyond the next few weeks, says wine producers body Vinpro.

  • TLU SA is worried about the impact of Moody’s Investors Service’s downgrade of South Africa to junk state, given the worldwide threat the COVID-19 virus holds.

  • Cyril Ramaphosa believes a Chinese-style lockdown to be both effective and necessary. For all his infatuation with the Chinese surveillance state, however, South Africa does not have the means to duplicate it, nor is it able to copy rich-world alternatives to a lockdown. Is he destroying the economy for nothing?

  • Those of us trying to model the Covid-19 pandemic should try to be humble; there is more we don’t know than we do.

  • In independent research centre, the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), has published an overview of five key foods produced in South Africa, as part of its analysis of food and agricultural aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

  • Country's table grape crop is on target to exceed latest estimate despite significant challenges

  • TLU SA today launched a campaign to object to unreasonable property valuations.

  • The next few days will see a continuation of the rainy conditions over the central parts of the country, intensifying somewhat during the remainder of the week and moving eastwards to be confined to the eastern and northeastern parts by Saturday (4th).

  • The full impacts and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on human well-being and the global economy remain to be seen, the situation continues to develop rapidly.

  • Over the past few days, the complex nature of South Africa’s food supply chains has come under the spotlight.

    These supply chains are a web of formal and informal interactions between agricultural inputs, logistics, farmers, spazas, bakkie traders, processing plants, shipping, retailing, biosecurity and more. Despite the reference to essential goods and services that need to continue to operate, the announcement by President Ramaphosa of a 21-day lockdown triggered a sharp rise in purchases of food that, according to various retailers, exceeded the volumes that are typically sold over Christmas. Furthermore, the lockdown has caused significant confusion at various nodes in the value chain with regards to what is classified as an essential service and what is not. Initially informal traders were excluded from the list of essential services, which caused a major bottleneck in access to food in many poor neighbourhoods, especially in rural areas. This was rectified in the second amendment to the Regulations on 2 April, when the relevant definition of essential services was changed to include “grocery stores and wholesale produce markets, including spaza shops and informal food traders, with written permission from a municipal authority to operate being required in respect of informal food traders”. This is an important amendment, which allows informal traders such as street hawkers to operate again, but requires a coordinated implementation plan with regard to the issuing of permits and the enforcement of health and safety requirements within essential but informal food trading. On-going cooperation between government and private sector is required to efficiently and effectively remove bottlenecks and enable the continuous operation of all essential goods and service delivery within the food value chain to ensure food security during COVID-19 lockdown.

    In its first two briefs on the impact of COVID-19, BFAP provided an overview of the South African food system and food expenditure patterns by consumers respectively. This brief sheds light on the complex nature of the food supply chain and the extent of the essential goods and services required for its effective operation. In his initial speech, the President referred to some of the broader sectors that are exempt from restrictions, but did not provide a comprehensive list of all included sectors at the time. Essential goods or services can generally be defined as those that: • May be bought or acquired primarily for personal, family or household purposes, including but not limited to medicines, food, water or fuel; and • Are necessary for the health, safety, or welfare of consumers. Essential goods and services as defined in Section 213 of the Labour Relations Act (Act No 66 of 1995), and designated in terms of section 71(8) of the Act, are specified as power, health, transport, water and sanitation. For the purpose of the COVID-19 lockdown, an amendment of regulations to the Disaster Management Act (2002) provided increased clarity of food related ‘essential goods’ and these were outlined as: • Any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages; • Animal food; and • Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product. April 3, 2020 Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) 477 Witherite road, Agri hub office park Die Wilgers, 0186 Pretoria This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Although the food and related products stated above were included in the amended list of essential goods, the list of “essential services” related to food and food production was less comprehensive.

    The essential services classification needs to extend across agriculture and not just food, as agricultural value chains are intertwined and if not managed carefully, will have a direct and negative impact on food security. For instance, cotton and wool are not included as essential products, but they provide cashflow to farmers, and are critical in the sustainability of livelihoods and food security, as, without cash flow, field crops cannot be planted. Both sectors are also critical components of the animal feed industry. It is therefore important that cotton and wool (export) trade be opened in order to support farm incomes. The export of cotton and wool also requires port services in order to facilitate the country’s exports. The foregoing underlines the fact that the “food industry” in South Africa is complex and includes a number of support services which, directly and indirectly, enable the efficient and effective operations of the holistic food value chain, and therefore fits the fundamental definition of essential services. By implication, such services must also be authorised to function normally for the food value chain to continue functioning in an effective manner. From a food supply chain perspective, essential goods and services entail all activities and processes which support the production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste disposal of food in the system.

    The following essential food-related supply chains remain operational: • Agricultural and food-related operations, and all agricultural input suppliers and support services; • Fish operations; • Manufacturing facilities for the processing of food, beverages and essential products; • Warehousing, transport and logistics for food, essential products, and health-related goods; • Ports, roads and rail networks, which will remain open to facilitate the import and export of essential products. It is critical that related inspection and regulatory/ documentation control systems and processes operate efficiently and effectively; • Food outlets – including retail, wholesale, spaza shops, malls for food, and essential products. Figure 1 outlines the broad framework of South Africa’s food supply chain and its various components, including the essential services that ensure the smooth functioning of the country’s food system. It includes multiple cross-cutting services such as electricity, banking, telecommunications, water, security, logistics, sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) functions, and waste disposal, among others. Such services are required across the various components of the food supply chain. Transport, as well as health and safety, are pre-requisites that are essential at each node of the food supply chain; critical additional services at ports include administrative functions that ensure documentation and procedures are adhered to for exported and imported essential goods.


  • What does it help if we pull all the stops to protect our health, but we forget to ensure that everyone has an adequate food supply? The Covid-19 pandemic will accentuate levels of inequality in society in ways we have not anticipated, unless we start paying closer attention to food security among the poorest of the poor.

  • The minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, Thoko Didiza, today announced funding allocations to mitigate food security in the country through a R1.2 billion cash injection for small-scale farmers.




Farming Diary


07.15.2020 - 07.17.2020


08.11.2020 - 08.14.2020


10:00 am 09.09.2020 - 11:00 am 09.11.2020

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