The South African potato industry is appealing to stakeholders to form more partnerships to drive growth and transformation. Potatoes South Africa (PSA) CEO Willie Jacobs has stated that the potato helped ensure food security throughout the pandemic in South Africa last year.
According to Jacobs, if the agricultural sector is to stimulate South Africa’s economy, all-round and continued involvement from all role-players will be required to optimize the industry’s impact. Jacobs notes that, over and above potatoes helping to ensure food security, it has also contributed to better nutrition in communities, considering the multitude of vitamins and minerals packed in the root vegetable.
Per capita potato consumption in South Africa has increased markedly in the last ten years, proving the powerful impact that the staple food has in the country, says PSA. The organisation represents 570 producers across 16 regions of production. The potato industry provides employment for between 50 000 and 60 000 people.
Potatoes, like all other fresh produce, are sold through multiple channels, with national fresh produce markets being the main driver of fresh produce sales. During the Alert Level 5 and 4 lockdown, the restrictive regulations limited trade, thereby inspiring traders and producers to find direct ways of connecting. Volumes recorded by PSA under the levy requirements revealed a migration from national fresh produce markets to direct transacting.