Tags: South Africa | Food Shortage | Agriculture

South Africans Choose Office Over Agriculture

By Thursday, 21 May 2015 11:29 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Knee deep in an electricity crisis, South Africa’s biggest challenge may still be yet to come. A drought in Sub Saharan Africa has seen a crop failures in the “maize belt” of over 50 percent. According to the World Food Program South Africa’s maize production has dropped by a third compared to last year and will likely hit an eight year low.

South Africa has weathered bad crops and drought before however this time around it may prove difficult to recover. The average South African farmer is 62 years of age and the severe lack of new farmers coming into the industry will result in the loss of vital knowledge and skill needed to rebuild after a bad season.

South Africa’s iol news organization reported the AgriSA data which shows that in 1994 there were 120,000 farmers in South Africa compared to the 37,000 farmers at present. The younger generation has gravitated to the more comfortable working environments in urban areas, reflecting a low interest in a career associated with manual labor and getting your hands dirty.

There are other possible reasons for the decline in farmers. After 1994 land was redistributed to the previously displaced black South Africans. Much of this was farmland and without proper training or skills transfer the new land owners were largely unable to sustain profitable farms.

Competition from cheaper imports and lack of access to funding for new farmers has also taken its toll on the industry.

The resilient nature of South African citizens and the private sector will be tested in the coming months as a food crisis would increase imports and push up the price of staple foods. This coupled with a 25 percent increase to unreliable electricity and a week currency would affect South Africa’s entire population.

The question is, Can South Africans trust the government responsible for putting them in this predicament? Does the African National Congress have the depth and understanding to keep the country on track through a possible crisis when it has failed through a transitional era? Or is it time for new blood?

Matthew Klynsmith earned a business administration diploma at CTI in Cape Town, South Africa. He now works at Strategic Options as an associate partner. To read more reports from Matthew Klynsmith, Go Here Now.

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The younger South African generation has gravitated to the more comfortable working environments in urban areas.
South Africa, Food Shortage, Agriculture
Thursday, 21 May 2015 11:29 AM
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