For many of my generation, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, which is bringing everyday life to a grinding halt, will be one of the most enduring and disruptive experiences of our lifetime.
While still considered by many foreign investors as the ‘gateway into Africa’, South Africa’s dismal economic performance has been a drag on the rest of the continent, which, in 2019, was home to six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies, namely Rwanda, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Tanzania and Benin.
For the last year or so, I have often thought about what occurred in South Korea in 1997 and 1998 when the country faced economic ruin due to the impact of the Asian economic crisis.
Over the past couple of decades, we have enjoyed plenty of benefits because of the progress made in farming. More people than ever before are now able to access sufficient food that can help them live longer and healthier lives.
If you had hoped to start the year off on a positive note by doing something good for your health and well-being, giving up social media for January might have been a much better option than giving up drink. (This would also have been a much better option for the local wine industry, which reportedly suffered a 23% reduction in wine exports, as well as a decline in local sales.)
Two important pieces of draft legislation that will shape the way that land reform in South Africa will be implemented were published recently, and are currently open for public comment.
We have come to the end of a year, as well as the end of a decade, that seems to have tested South African farmers unlike any other.
One of the things I find most frustrating about politics is that what politicians say and promise can differ almost completely from what they do and deliver, yet there are zero consequences.
The local agriculture sector has emerged over the past two decades as a major asset in what has become an otherwise ailing economy.
I’m not a fan of apportioning blame where it isn’t well deserved. However, while the weather is (thankfully) not controlled by government, and we thus can’t blame it for the lack of rain, we can blame the extent of the impact the drought has had on South Africans on the almost complete breakdown of proper governance at municipal level.
The latest tractor sales figures released by the South African Agricultural Machinery Association showed that year-to-date tractor sales were significantly down from last year, with the number of tractors sold up to the end of September having declined 22% to 3 919 from 5 034 sold in 2018.
All things considered, the farming sector in South Africa has not performed too poorly in terms of job losses since the turn of the century. According to Statistics South Africa, employment stood at just under one million in 2001, before declining to about 660 000 in 2012.