Agricultural sector hoping for good news when NCC details relaxation of lockdown

There are calls to have the agricultural sector fully operational in order to ensure a healthy economy, job protection, and food security.

Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN – The coronavirus national command council is on Saturday expected to detail government's plans to relax lockdown regulations next month.

There are calls to have the agricultural sector fully operational in order to ensure a healthy economy, job protection, and food security.

This week President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a five-phased relaxation of regulations which will kick-start from next Friday.

On Saturday, with various ministers expected to give life to these plans, Agri-Western Cape said they hope to hear good news – specifically for those commodities that could not do business under the current restrictions.

Some agricultural sectors such as wool, cotton and tobacco have been shut down during the lockdown.

Agri Western Cape chief executive officer Jannie Strydom said it's important that all sectors start operating again.

“One can argue that wool isn’t but there is a certain time that wool needs to be shed and then it needs to be shipped off.”

Strydom said the industry has been negatively affected during the lockdown and adds that at many are net exporters of produce and earners of foreign currencies.

He said that they are hoping to hear whether the wine industry is allowed to export again and whether bottling in the cellars can continue.

“It’s been a terrible couple of weeks. Agriculture is very refined, it's not a light switch you just put on.”

Strydom said the agricultural sector will continue to comply with all regulations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to ensure everyone working on the farms' health and safety.