Minister: Sharp increase in food prices inevitable
Senzeni Zokwana will meet with major retailers to discuss looming food price increases.
CAPE TOWN - Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana says a sharp increase in food prices is inevitable.
But he has appealed to retailers not to take advantage of the situation.
He's described the drought as the worst in 23 years.
Zokwana says he is to meet with at least two major retailers this week to discuss looming food price increases.
"Tomorrow, myself and my experts will be meeting with Tiger Brands and later this week, Pioneer Foods."
Zokwana says he's also concerned at the roaring price of chicken.
"In terms of chicken, we were not supposed to be so exposed given that there will be these tons from America."
Last week the South African Poultry Association announced that the price of a two kilogram bag of quick-frozen chicken, which has already exceeded the R50 mark, may increase by a further R7 in coming months.
Zokwana says government is considering approaching the National Treasury to make up for the losses.
Zokwana also says government is not ready to declare the drought a national disaster.
Zokwana says there's a risk of disinvestment in agriculture from the banking sector if a national disaster is declared.
"We have approached the IDC which has promised to put aside half a billion rand to assist farmers. But another view was put forward that maybe we need to approach the Treasury where they can stand surety in some of the indebtedness of farmers."
FARMERS AND LIVESTOCK
Agri SA warned that food production had reached crisis levels and as winter approached, serious food shortages were expected.
There are also concerns about the increase in the number of farms being sold due to the dry weather.
WATCH: SA economy suffers as drought continues