Industry experts claim that load shedding is putting the South African potato industry value chain under severe strain since farmers aren't able to irrigate as they should. The increase in costs means already cash-strapped consumers have to cough up more. At a time when the sustainability of the entire South African potato value chain is at risk, industry players say it remains an uphill battle for potato growers in the country.
According to Potato South Africa CEO Willie Jacobs, it is not only potato producers who are impacted by load shedding but the entire value chain. “Should there be a breakdown in the local supply of fresh produce, all role players will be affected.”
Foodformzansi.co.za reports that farmers are struggling to irrigate their potato fields efficiently, resulting in reduced production due to the decreasing quality of the produce. Potato SA claims that fresh produce markets, where 60% of all potatoes are sold in the informal sector, are also affected.
Load shedding increased to Stage 5
Eskom has increased load shedding to Stage 5 from midday on Tuesday with Stage 6 to follow from 9pm until 5am on Wednesday morning. Thereafter, Stage 5 is expected to be implemented continuously until further notice. This after the power utility suffered several breakdowns at power stations.
“Eskom requests members of the public to continue assisting by reducing usage and to sparingly use electricity,” the power utility said.