In a news story published by iAfrica, titled “Urgent Action Needed To Protect SA’s Potato Industry“, it is said that South Africa is a key destination for processed potato product exports from the EU “where there is a history of dumping”. This is set to have a negative impact on the country’s agricultural sector and surrounding communities, according to the news article.
André Jooste, CEO of Potatoes South Africa (PSA), is quoted as saying that the local potato industry has already suffered significantly from a decrease in demand as a result of COVID-19 related regulations, such as the closure of restaurants and fast food outlets, restricted trade and movement of informal traders.
“The result was a significant drop in prices far below break-even prices for producers and a build-up of stock levels in the processing sector. A further blow due to low priced imports from other countries could be catastrophic.”
Jooste pointed out that there is also no guarantee that the benefit of lower prices as a result of imports from Europe will be passed on to consumers. “In fact, a longer-term consequence is that consumers could face higher prices if South African growers and processors are forced out of business as a result of cheap imports on the back of COVID-19 inflicted reasons.”
“It is therefore imperative that we prioritise our growers, our supply chain and the expansion of the local agricultural economy; especially if we are to combat the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Jooste said.