Agriculture Dept confident sector will improve after govt eased lockdown rules

Wandile Sihlobo, the chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), told the Cape Town Press Club last month that high-end products such as flowers, wine, wool, and mohair were hardest hit by the lockdown.

FILE: Sheep grazing in a field on a South African farm. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on Monday said that it was confident that the country’s agriculture sector would improve following the easing of lockdown restrictions in August.

Wandile Sihlobo, the chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz), told the Cape Town Press Club last month that high-end products such as flowers, wine, wool, and mohair were hardest hit by the lockdown.

In April, Minister Thoko Didiza announced her department’s allocation of R1.2 billion to small-scale farmers to increase food production amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were worries around food security globally at the early stages of the pandemic as many countries tried to preserve supply for their citizens.

“Moving from level 5 to level 4, other restrictions started to be eased but we believe the sector will be fully operational under level 1,” said Didiza’s spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo.

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