‘Recent fuel hikes could exacerbate food insecurity in SA’

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Non-profit organisation “Food and Trees for Africa” says the fuel price hikes could exacerbate food insecurity in South Africa.

Wednesday’s fuel price hike saw a R2.37 per litre increase in the price of petrol, diesel increased by R2.30 per litre – and the price of illuminating paraffin increased by R1.66 per litre.

According to Stats SA, 23.6% of South Africans experienced moderate to severe food insecurity in 2020, while 14.9% experienced severe food insecurity.

Head of Programmes at Food and Trees for Africa, Robyn Hills says commercial farmers will be the greatest affected due to logistics and operational costs.

“I think when we talk about food insecurity, we talk about access to food and shelter. We have an unequal society in SA like other societies in the world. It means that some members of the population don’t have money to buy food. When we talk about unequal food systems, we talking about people’s ability to grow their own food.”

“One of the things we need to unpack is who is producing food. [How] are we ensuring that we are going to be able to continue to be able to introduce health food in the next 10, 20, 30 years in light of the societal and climate related challenges?” adds Hills.

The audio below is the full interview:

Fuel price hike impact

Over 36 communal crop farmers at Thabine irrigation scheme, outside Tzaneen in Limpopo, say they fear losing their income due to the increase in fuel prices.

As the country continues to experience fuel increases, the emerging farmers are concerned that they might not be able to irrigate their crops.

The scheme produces cabbage, green beans, spinach and peri peri, that is sold to surrounding communities.

Brian Mushwana and Daniel Gana say they will produce less crops if the fuel price increases again.

“We are using generators to pump water from the river. So because now the fuel [price] is now increasing, we are going to have a challenge. Our quantity will have to go down because we wont afford to plant on a big scale. We are struggling here because of the increase of petrol. It’s a big problem. We are using petrol when watering our plants. We won’t be able to go further with this farming,” they explain.

The video below, is reporting on food insecurity in Africa:

Calls for government on intervene

Earlier, the Automobile Association of South Africa spokesperson, Layton Beard said government needs to urgently review fuel prices in the country.

Higher fuel prices have been pushed up by a weaker rand/dollar exchange rate, rising Brent Crude Oil prices on the back of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and rising demand in China, among other factors.

The fuel price increase comes as the government’s 75 cent reduction in the fuel levy – as relief for struggling consumers – expires on 3 August 2022.

Department of Energy’s Robert Maake says the government has done what it can in terms of the relief on the fuel levy: