While reports that South Africa is harvesting a bumper maize crop of around 13,5 million tons is good news for crop farmers, livestock farmers are under serious pressure as stock prices languish in the doldrums.
The impact of the longest strike in the South Africa’s mining history is significant on the economy as a whole. The recently booming town of Rustenburg – centre of the country’s platinum industry – has become a virtual ghost town overnight as an estimated ZAR6 billion worth of wages and salaries have been forfeited by striking miners. Many of these miners support families back home. The lack of funds being remitted to rural families has dealt the buying power of South Africa a sensitive blow.
With many sub-contracting businesses shutting down or significantly reducing services to the mines, even more people are finding themselves between a rock and a hard place as they struggle to make ends meet with no income. Churches are providing food and other assistance to affected parties while excluding strikers from aid.
The knock-on affect of the strike and associated economic woes caused by an incompetent government, are pushing South Africa to the brink of a serious recession. The exchange rate has turned against the country and input costs for farmers are spiraling out of control. Lower producer prices, ever increasing input costs, a draconian tax burden imposed by a government under pressure to supply socialistic services to ever increasing masses by a diminishing tax payer base, crumbling infrastructure and waning services do not bode well for the economy as a whole.
Farmers, being price takers, are under serious threat as they battle to deal with threats to private ownership of their farms on top of their economic woes.