Agriculture Budget Vote: Minister’s budget must reflect urgency of the moment and help secure South Africa’s food supply

As Minister for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, delivers her department’s (DALRRD) budget vote address today, 9 May 2023, Agri SA hopes to hear key announcements on the implementation of concrete action to address the challenges facing the sector and the growing threats to the country’s food security.

While it is laudable that there has been extensive engagement on the sector’s challenges with the Minister, most notably on load shedding, it is vital that the Minister and government more generally now demonstrates that this engagement with the sector can be translated into real action that protects the nation’s food security.

Agri SA has repeatedly warned of the growing threat load shedding presents to food production in the country. These warnings are now increasingly being echoed by key players in other sectors, notably in food retail. The urgency of this moment must be reflected in the priorities outlined in today’s Agriculture Budget Vote.

DALRRD has a hugely significant role in this crisis insofar as it oversees the country’s ability to meet citizens’ most basic need – food security. It is therefore vital for the department to work with other relevant government departments to mitigate the crippling impact of load shedding on all farmers and we hope to see detail of this work in the budget vote.

In particular, to address not only load shedding but also other challenges facing the sector, we hope to hear more from the Minister in terms of the department’s plans to:

·       Help facilitate market access,

·       Lobby for the exclusion of certain commodities from load shedding,

·       Encourage National Treasury to increase the rebate for solar energy,

·       Put pressure on local governments to repair road networks,

·       Work with financial institutions to alleviate financial pressures on farming operations, and

·       Work with the Department of Police to implement a comprehensive rural safety plan.

Many of these issues facing the sector are the subject of the Agriculture and Agro-processing Masterplan (AAMP). We would therefore welcome an update on the Department’s plans for the coming financial year in this regard.

Agri SA will monitor the budget closely and continue to engage Minister Didiza and the Department – along with other relevant departments – to ensure that our farmers remain financially sustainable and operationally able to produce food for the 60 million South Africans who rely on the sector for their sustenance.


Christo van der Rheede

Agri SA: Chief Executive Officer

083 380 3492