Drought crisis: ‘Price hikes & job losses on the cards'
The livestock industry says South Africans will feel the impact of drought on their pockets this year.
CAPE TOWN - South Africans will feel the impact of the drought on their pockets this year, with livestock producers warning of increases in the prices of pork, poultry and red meat.
Commercial and emerging farmers have lost an estimated five percent of the national beef herd to the drought, which amounts to 13 million animals.
As farmers try to weather difficult conditions, the livestock industry has warned MPs that price hikes and possible job losses are on the horizon.
Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has been told the poor will be the hardest hit.
The National Red Meat Producers' Organisation says a shortage of animals to slaughter, the availability of feed, rising costs and a predicted drop in the conception rate will all affect the price of beef, lamb and mutton.
The organisation's Pieter Prinsloo said, "We have got to start putting measures in place proactively to try and get the food out to the people cheaper. We know about the grain price that has gone up, we know about all products and the chicken [farmers] have told us that their product is going up. We are telling you that the beef, lamb and mutton is going up by 12 to 14 percent this year."
The price of pork is expected to rise by 25 percent, while the price of a 2kg bag of frozen chicken pieces has already gone up by nearly R7 since the last quarter of 2015, and will rise even further in 2016.
The livestock industry is also expected to suffer job losses.
For every 10,000 tonnes less poultry produced, around 1,000 direct and indirect jobs could be shed.
WATCH: Drought hits SA farmers hard