South Africa: Load shedding and the Economic Strain on the Food Supply Chain
The energy crisis, which has resulted in the declaration of a National State of Disaster, is causing disruptions and rising costs for the advanced and diverse agriculture and food sector in South Africa, which is heavily reliant upon electrification. While farmers of field crops and fruits are concerned about a drop in yields and quality as they are unable to keep to irrigation schedules, livestock and poultry producers are struggling to care for animals and are facing a backlog in slaughtering and processing of animal products. Across the supply chain, the struggle to continue operations and prevent a break in the cold chain is forcing many companies to purchase backup power sources, most often generators that are expensive to fuel. When backup fails or is implausible, spoilage and waste expenses mount. With load shedding expected to continue until at least 2024, the sector is anxious for solutions while South African consumers fear that increased costs will be passed down and exacerbate food price inflation.