UPDATE ON SOUTH AFRICA

AND SOUTHERN AFRICAN FOOD VALUE CHAINS AS THE CRISIS UNFOLDS

FOLLOWING THE FIRST TWO PIECES IN THE COVID-19 SERIES, RELEASED BY VALUE CHAIN SOLUTIONS ON THE UNFOLDING OF EVENTS WITH THE SPECIFIC FOCUS ON FOOD VALUE CHAINS, HERE IS AN UPDATE AND SOME NOTES ON EVENTS NORTH OF SOUTH AFRICA.

1. Food Value Chain Observations

2. Affordability and Availability

3. Southern Africa Pointers

FOOD VALUE CHAIN OBSERVATIONS

Fresh produce production and supply thereof continue without interruption at this stage with harvesting, packing, logistics and selling at fresh produce markets.

AN INTERESTING TREND THAT HAS BEEN STRENGTHENING SINCE WE FIRST NOTED IT, IS THE BROADENING OF THE VALUE CHAIN FROM FRESH PRODUCE MARKETS TO THE CONSUMER, ESPECIALLY IN THE INFORMAL ECONOMY. MARKET AGENTS REGISTER NEW BUYERS ON A DAILY BASIS, IMPLYING HAWKERS, STREET VENDORS, BAKKIE TRADERS AND SHOPS ARE GOING TO FRESH PRODUCE MARKETS TO BUY DIRECTLY INSTEAD OF BUYING THROUGH THIRD PARTIES.

South Africa is finding it increasingly difficult to ship fresh produce to neighbouring countries
due to logistical issues related to COVID-19 measures that are being taken.

Meat markets, especially beef, are starting to show pressure,
although on certain cuts demand has increased due to people staying at home. Fresh chicken and pork meat are also showing strain. Other meat cuts, however, are selling as normal.

GRAIN PRICES ARE LARGELY FOLLOWING EXCHANGE RATE MOVEMENTS AT THIS STAGE, BUT KEEP AN EYE ON US GRAIN PRICES WITH ETHANOL PRODUCTION STARTING TO SHOW SIGNIFICANT DECLINES. AT THE TIME OF WRITING THIS, US CORN PRICES WERE ALREADY DOWN SIGNIFICANTLY.

AFFORDABILITY AND AVAILABILITY

As highlighted in the previous piece in the series,
affordability is becoming an issue and sporadic events of people demonstrating in the streets due to lack of food occurred in various parts of South Africa. Events, however, seem isolated and on a small scale. Society at large is doing its best to service the needs of people to ensure hunger is prevented and at this stage momentum is being maintained on all these initiatives.

It remains to be seen for how long funding and hence momentum will be maintained.

AVAILABILITY STILL DOESN’T SEEM TO BE AN ISSUE AT PRIMARY LEVEL AND AS NOTED ABOVE, PEOPLE ARE MAKING PLANS TO REGISTER AS FOOD VENDORS AND TO SOURCE PRODUCE IN ORDER TO SELL, ESPECIALLY IN THE INFORMAL ECONOMY.

SOUTHERN AFRICA POINTERS

MOST BORDER POSTS (WHICH HAVE REMAINED OPEN DURING LOCKDOWN BETWEEN SOUTH AFRICA AND ITS NEIGHBOURS) ARE OPERATING AS NORMAL AND WITHOUT MAJOR DELAYS. THE SAME CAN BE SAID FOR THE MAJORITY OF BORDER POSTS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA.

However,
serious issues are found at key border posts which are severely limiting the movement of critical food products through the region, from surplus to deficit areas. Border posts experiencing significant issues are Kazungula (RSA, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, DRC and Tanzania) as well as Kasumbalesa (DRC, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique).

These issues need urgent attention to allow flow of product and to supply food to key deficit areas.