As the worst drought in 35 years continues in Southern Africa, South African farmers are struggling. With the droughts, farm murders, and farm attacks, some farmers are considering selling their farms because they can’t access the funds they need to continue to operate.
The Times Live reported that South Africa has been hit with a drought for the last three years. The drought this year is the worst drought that South Africa has experienced since 1992. AgriSA‚ an organization that represents commercial farmers, said that 15,000 of the 35,000 commercial farmers are struggling and “have their backs against the wall” because of the latest drought.
— Alien (@SAalienate) July 20, 2016
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, farm attacks have continued to increase while the African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa, continues to lose support. The ANC-led government has failed to effectively deal with both the farm murders and farm attacks in South Africa, and their ineffectiveness has contributed to farming in South Africa becoming the most dangerous occupation in the world.
AgriSA called for intervention from the South African government to help farmers get through the drought.
“We are concerned about the fact that more and more big commercial farmers now have their backs to the wall … they do not have the cash flow to support their operations any longer. Agri SA had fielded hundreds of phone calls this week from farmers in dire straits.”
— South Africa Today (@SATodayNews) July 17, 2016
International Business Times reported that the debate over climate change continues to rage as the drought continues in Southern Africa. The drought has caused a food crisis that has left 50 million hungry. Southern Africa has been suffering from a deadly combination of famine and drought for years now. Not only is Southern Africa suffering, but other parts of the world are currently struggling with drought too.
News 24 reported that the recent Brexit deal in Europe may actually benefit South Africa. Critics of Brexit say that South African farmers may suffer under Brexit because of the higher tariffs that could be imposed. These tariffs would be imposed when South African exports are sent to Great Britain. Viccy Baker of the consumer price comparison website Retail Price Watch said that the higher tariffs could actually benefit local South Africans because it would make more food available on the local market.
Great Britain will need to reevaluate its current farm subsidies for British farmers because it has one of the most pernicious systems of subsidies of any country. Currently, Great Britain is not even in the top five trading partners for South Africa despite having a common language, heritage, and culture. A change to farm subsidies will increase the competitiveness of South African products in British markets.
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Fresh Plaza reported that Microsoft’s Bill Gates thinks that agriculture in South Africa can be turned into a thriving business. Gates said that Africa has the potential to create an economic opportunity by ensuring the growth in the agricultural sector.
“Right now, most African smallholders suffer from an almost total lack of innovation. They plant unproductive seeds in poor soils in order to produce just enough to feed their family… Doing more of the same is going to bring even more meager harvests. The key to breaking this cycle is a series of innovations at every step along the way from farm to market.”
Gates delivered the speech when he was in South Africa for the 14th Annual Nelson Mandela Foundation Lecture. He didn’t say how he planned to help South African farmers improve their circumstances under the current economic and political conditions.
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