This is the year during which we shall learn how to work around a seriously annoying virus. We have to carry on as normally as possible and we must strive towards maintaining our way of living, because threats of hunger in African countries are hanging over our heads. But ignoring the virus can be fatal.
Covid-19 puts us in a catch-22 situation. We must reduce our economic activities to save ourselves, but we must carry on with our economic activities to stay alive. This virus is not going away, or at least not until the recently developed vaccines will reach Zambia. We also must consider that this virus might develop a new strain which will have a similar impact on Africa that it has on European countries. Besides the obvious changes in conduct, like wearing masks, not shaking hands and social distancing, there will be more serious adaptations we as farmers have to make. Our lives will have to evolve faster than Covid-19.
Let us start with the mitigation of inputs like imported seed, fertiliser, plant, and animal health products. We shall be last in the row when our foreign suppliers down-scale their production. Also, a reduction in supply always leads to a hike in prices. Prices will become simply too high for Zambian farmers. This will force us to develop local products, which also poses many opportunities.
We must re-think the crops we will plant in future. Locally consumed crops might be safer than those for the export market. Our borders will be closed and exported goods might be too difficult to sell to be profitable.
We need to eat healthier. Less sugar means less chances of diabetes and heart-related diseases. Due to the high sugar content in the diets of Western nations, they are more prone to be affected by Covid-19.
We shall also have to invest in communication technology on smart devices, to be able to converse with our agronomists and sales representatives. Human contact will reduce significantly. Farmers might even become more hands-on if the technicians and vets are restricted on their farm visits. With the right mindset, we can convert this pandemic into many opportunities.
Let us tackle 2021 with a winning attitude. True to our commitment to deliver free and informative content, we shall not stray from this path in the year(s) to come. Enjoy this edition!
Du Preez de Villiers – firstname.lastname@example.org