Much is deliberated about the aftermath and repercussions of COVID-19. There were not many surprises in terms of estimated death numbers, and the projections were sometimes exaggerated and are corrected on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the economic implications which are busy unfolding all over the world.
Economists predict a 20% rise in people who will struggle to feed themselves soon, of which more than 80% are in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. An official state of famine will occur in about 35 countries. Globally, an estimated 135 million people are not food secure and the coronavirus could increase this by another 130 million by year-end. Of those, 79 million people will be in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The local economies in Africa are mostly small enough to fly under the radar, but the necessary imports will leave us in a predicament. This includes food, medicine and other necessities. Africans can survive on the bare minimum if push comes to shove and we are tough. We can even change our diets to rely on locally produced food only, but we will not be able to flex our muscles if we run out of food. It is the urban people who will suffer the most. They need a few more links in their supply chain than farmers to feed themselves.
Therefore, our farmers will have to learn to improvise and put in that extra weight to deliver food to a few more families. The supply from abroad is already under pressure. Any enterprising farmer should see opportunities here, but it is more than that. The time has arrived for farmers to become heroes, to prevent a serious famine. Some produce will even have to be delivered for free because unemployment has already risen sharply. Luckily, our farmers are sons and daughters of the soil and know desperation when they see it. We know what humanity entails. We have to rise to the occasion.
The impact of COVID-19 is here to stay for an awfully long time, but agriculture is forever. Stay safe and enjoy the many articles in this extra bulky edition of 68 pages.
Du Preez de Villiers – email@example.com