Are food riots next on the horizon?

2016-03-09 06:00

THE word that is on the lips of farmers at the moment is “water”.

Not all crops can be irrigated, but vegetables and pastures for dairy cattle generally are. As dams and rivers run dry, these enterprises are coming under increasing pressure to produce.

The price of food, especially vegetables, is set to skyrocket. We are seeing ongoing service-delivery riots; let us pray that we are not about to see food riots. Farmers who have made big enough dams are able to produce. What is of great concern to farmers is how the government has made it increasingly difficult for farmers to build dams or increase the capacity of existing dams. The cost of the required environmental impact assessment is exorbitant and the whole process is a farce. Every application has to have a BEE component. These and other stumbling blocks have to be overcome in order for a farmer to build a dam, at his own expense, which will contribute to food security. I, and most other farmers, just cannot understand it. When I started farming in 1970, the government paid one-third of the cost, if I remember correctly. The dams had to be designed by an engineer for safety reasons.



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