Potatoes South Africa (PSA) has launched a bold new awareness campaign in a bid to create perspective about the resilience and performance of the potato industry’s stakeholders in the country, especially in the context of South Africa recently marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 disruption.
Called #WhenHopeWhispers, the campaign aims to highlight the resilient spirit and contributions of various stakeholders from the potato industry before culminating in an inaugural State of the Potato Industry Address (SOPIA) on 5 May 2021.
True to its central theme of resilience and optimism, #WhenHopeWhispers will not only focus on SOPIA, but will also give voice to the manifold movers and shakers who propel the potato industry forward. These unsung heroes are made up of producers, distributors, consumers, informal traders, and retailers. Coinciding with the United Nations’ International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (2021), PSA could not have chosen a better time to launch #WhenHopeWhispers.
As such, through a range of written and video recorded stories from various stakeholders, #WhenHopeWhispers will underpin the recent decision by the 75th General Assembly of the UN to prioritise nutrition and poverty alleviation through fresh produce production. It is furthermore fitting to notice that in tandem with a comprehensive report, SOPIA will be delivered in the same month as World Hunger Day, which falls on 28 May 2021.
SOPIA also aims to introduce PSA’s newly appointed CEO, Mr Willie Jacobs who asserts that the report will provide an all-inclusive exposition on the state of the industry, thereby sketching an invaluable overview of how the world’s biggest non-grain crop can help achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals.
“Using data and real testimonies from those that not only survived the socio-economic onslaught caused by the pandemic but managed to thrive, this report will inform policy, strategies and the tools necessary to navigate both current and future challenges,” he adds.
Optimising the potato industry’s impact
Closer to home, Jacobs remarks that if the agricultural sector is to stimulate South Africa’s economy, all-round and continued involvement from role players will be required to optimise the potato industry’s impact. Looking at our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment statistics, he has reason to be optimistic about agriculture providing the necessary momentum for socio-economic progress.
In addition to the agricultural sector’s above-average Q2 performance, providing hope where economic heft was wholly lacking because of the lash of lockdown, it is worth noting that potato production heralds 50% of the country’s crops, yielding at least R6.6 billion for South Africa’s economy.