High value export commodities such as citrus, fruit and macadamia’s will also be affected

South African farmers hard hit due to the increase in cost & limited availability of diesel

Agri SA is calling on the South African government to launch an urgent inquiry into the continuous shortage of diesel to various industries. One of the key reasons is the continuous vandalism and theft of diesel by well-organised syndicates from the diesel supply lines from Durban to Johannesburg. This poses a serious challenge to Transnet who is responsible for managing and maintaining the pipeline.

It has resulted in diesel being transported by trucks from our ports which in turn increases the cost. Farmers harvesting produce such as maize, citrus and other commodities at this point in time are particularly hard hit due to the increase in cost and the limited availability of diesel in particular provinces.

Agri SA has been monitoring the diesel supply disruptions from the onset and has been part of a weekly meeting with the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) to receive feedback and to convey the status of the diesel supply constraints experienced by our members in each province. The situation on the ground however differs from the picture often painted by those responsible for managing the supply of diesel that there is enough diesel available. Farmers are battling to buy diesel for harvesting purposes. Many other industries too.

The agricultural value chain is heavily dependent on diesel for harvesting and to transport produce to offset points. Hence, disruptions in supply can paralyze the industry completely. All commodities can potentially be affected. Farmers in the northern parts of the country are busy harvesting summer grains. Given the fact that there currently is a high demand for white maize meal, prolonged shortage of diesel holds the risk of impacting negatively on food security.

The logistical linkages in the fresh produce supply chain is particularly vulnerable. High value export commodities such as citrus, fruit and macadamia’s will also be affected.

Transnet owns, manages and operates an underground network of 3 800 km of high-pressure petroleum and gas pipelines. Since April this year, more than 30 fuel theft incidents have occurred on the pipeline during which more than 2 million litres of fuel were stolen. Thieves are increasingly damaging the pipelines and associated infrastructure to steal diesel.

Agri SA and its various provincial affiliates, in collaboration with Transnet yesterday launched a campaign encouraging farmers to report any criminal activity aimed at vandalising the pipeline to steal diesel.

Click here to view the Media Release.

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