Glaring challenges for SA farmers despite bumper season

Better equipment and new technology were on show at the Nampo agricultural exhibition in Bothaville in the Free State province of South Africa. Image credit: Leon Louw for WhyAfrica

Glaring challenges for SA farmers despite bumper season

There was a big focus was on technology on the first day of the Nampo agricultural show in Bothaville in the Free State Province of South Africa  last week. As input costs soar, farmers are aiming to maximise efficiencies through investing in innovative technology and more effective equipment.  

By Leon Louw, owner and editor at WhyAfrica

Although the South African agriculture sector had a bumper season last year, the country’s farmers face immense challenges as electricity and water prices surge and seed, fertiliser, and logistic costs head north because of the current geopolitical turmoil. However, according to most farmers I spoke to yesterday, the crumbling road and rail infrastructure, congested ports and mismanagement at South Africa’s major ports are the major concerns, and unfortunately it is not getting any better.

Despite South Africa’s woes, the country’s farmers, like it’s miners, have put their backs into their work over the last 24 months. In 2021 the agriculture sector grew at a rate of 8.3%, second only to the mining sector, which achieved growth of 11.8%.

These bumper results were achieved on the back of good rainfall in the entire Southern African region last year, which boosted the sector in countries like Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia as well. According to several Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers showcasing their products at Nampo, Zambia and Zimbabwe have shown consistent growth and has become a lucrative market for their agricultural products and services. The major concerns for OEMs operating in Africa remain political instability, currency fluctuations,  the repatriation of funds and regulatory uncertainty.

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