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Agriculture and food supply sector remains vital cog during lockdown

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, has once again stressed that there is no need for the panic buying of food.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Cape Town | Updated: 27-03-2020 21:30 IST | Created: 27-03-2020 21:30 IST
Agriculture and food supply sector remains vital cog during lockdown
“This type of buying only serves to create distortions and artificial scarcities within the food supply sector,” said the Minister. Image Credit: Twitter(@SAgovnews)

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development has reiterated that the entire food value chain is an essential service that will keep operating during the national lockdown.

"The agriculture and food supply sector remains a vital cog during this period.

"In terms of the Amended Regulation No. 398 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002, the sector is responsible for food security and has been declared as essential. This includes the harvesting and storage of agricultural commodities.

"This Regulation re-emphasizes that the entire food value chain -- from farm-related operations, agro-processing and food manufacturing, logistics and related services, wholesale and retail services, and all support functions that ensure efficient delivery of the agro-food system -- has to be functional to ensure that there is access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food," the department said in a statement.

The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, has once again stressed that there is no need for the panic buying of food.

"This type of buying only serves to create distortions and artificial scarcities within the food supply sector," said the Minister.

The intervention measures that the government and the agricultural food value chain have put in place include:

Monitor availability and stability of food supply – the monitoring is done via an end-to-end agricultural value chain tracker, which has a 24 to 48-hour reporting cycle. The department will release status regular updates in relation to these monitoring activities. In case there are extreme cases where the security of supply of staple commodities is threatened, the department will recommend to the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition to impose appropriate export restrictions.

Ensure that critical agricultural production activities, such as harvesting, continue uninterrupted. This is done under strict prescripts, as provided for in Regulation No. 398 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 and Department of Health COVID-19 hygiene protocol."The safety of our farmers and farm workers on and off work is very important to us," said the department.

For all queries relating to matters relating to COVID-19 within the sector, kindly contact the department at COVID-19info@dalrrd.gov.za or phone the following toll-free number: 086 024 6640.

(With Inputs from South African Gvernment Press Release)


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