"ESKOM'S UNBEARABLE ELECTRICITY AND FUEL COSTS WILL PUSH FARMERS OUT OF BUSINESS" - MAHANJANA
06 Mar 2013
In the wake of sky-rocketing operating costs for electricity, fuel and newly introduced minimum wage for farm workers, the Secretary-General of the African Farmers Association of South Africa (AFASA), Mr. Aggrey Mahanjana has warned South Africans and government of farmers giving up on farming.
Mahanjana, a farmer himself, believes that "if production costs on electricity, fuel and new sectorial determination remain unsubsidized, government's rural development and land reform which sought to increase black and smallholder farmers in the country's agricultural land will not be achieved."
The National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA) granted power utility Eskom an 8% average increase per annum over the next five years while motorists paid an extra 81 cents on fuel and diesel on Wednesday. Research has shown that South Africa's electricity prices had rocketed by more than 170% over the past five years and contributed to the closure of 440, 000 small businesses.
"I am already paying ridiculous electricity rates of over R60 000 (sixty thousand rand) per month for my two farms in Carnarvon Estate and Sherwood (near Queenstown, Eastern Cape) while salaries for farm workers are currently sitting at R50 000 (fifty thousand rand) excluding casual labour. We have been inundated with calls from smallholder farmers who want to quit farming due to rocketing costs of doing business" Mahanjana appealed.
AFASA believes that if the status quo remains, food security, growth and development of the sector is under a serious threat.
The Association's endeavors to solicit meetings with the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries were unsuccessful.
AFASA is a representative and unitary body of all African farmers which is committed to driving the establishment of competent and successful commercial African farmers of South Africa.
Mr. Aggrey Mahanjana
African Farmers' Association of South Africa (AFASA)
Tel: +27 (0) 12 348 8566
Cell: +27 (0) 82 556 7297