Agri Western Cape says load shedding is crippling the agriculture sector.

The province is the largest exporter of agricultural produce in the country and it is crunch time on fruit farms.

The organisation has slammed Eskom and is calling on government to take action.

Agri Western Cape, CEO Jannie Strydom says “Given the cost squeeze that farmers are currently facing this is just additional pressure that they need to accommodate and I really want to plead with government to sort this out now. We really can’t go on like this, we definitely can’t grow the economy with an energy crisis that we have currently in our country.”

 In the video below, Agri Western Cape, CEO Jannie Strydom talks about the impact of load shedding:

Load shedding’s knock-on effect also results in damage to infrastructure, irrigation falling behind and in certain cases a complete standstill of production.

The national development plan has identified agriculture as a major job creator. But Strydom says this seems almost impossible in the current situation.

“We need to create a million jobs by 2030, so I would like to know how should we do that if we can’t even maintain our current situation and to be viable on your farm at this stage so no. I really think it’s time we said it to Nersa as well; something needs to be done with Eskom and somebody needs to make decisions and take action now.”

Earlier this week, the deciduous fruit industry, including apples and pears, also expressed concern over the possible impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Nearly 45% of all this produce is exported to foreign markets.