The Department of Energy recently announced fuel price increases.
Petrol went up by 11 cents per litre while the diesel price increased by 26.00c/l and illuminating paraffin (wholesale) by 24.00 c/l.
These fuel prices are normally adjusted based on international and local factors. From a farming perspective, an increase in fuel prices affects tilling and harvesting plans. A R1 per litre can be an equivalence of R1 billion for the entire agricultural chain adding to food inflation.’
“The main reason for the fuel price increases is the weakening of the Rand against the U.S. Dollar on average during the period under review. The Rand depreciated on average against the US Dollar from 14.05 to 15.15 Rand per dollar during the period under review compared to the previous one. This led to a higher contribution to the Basic Fuel Prices on petrol, diesel, and illuminating paraffin by more than fifty cents (50.00 c/l)” said Minister Gwede Mantashe.
For consumers, it is worthy to mention that 70% of South Africa’s food is transported by road. The slightest increase, especially in diesel price, may have a negative impact not only on food inflation but also on the disposable income of consumers.
Fuel price increase announcements are casually filled with advice for the consumer but not for farmers and producers. Mzansi Agriculture Talk has taken the liberty to identify cost-savings measures for farmers;
- Invest in approved fuel storage equipment. It will prevent fuel loss, leaks, theft, etc
- Appropriate machinery for a specific purpose will save fuel cost, e.g Small tractors for lighter loads and larger tractors for heavier loads.
- Using tractors, shift to a higher gear and slow the engine speed (rpm) to maintain the desired speed
- Layout your fields to minimize turning and overlapping tillage operations
- install cattle guards to reduce idling and time spent opening gates
- Use Quality oils, lubricants and fuel can help increase fuel efficiency while extending engine lifespan
- Ensure that tractor drivers are trained on tractor driving and maintenance, as such will allow them to notice and report any noise or mechanical failure which may contribute to high fuel consumption etc
- Farmers should be knowledgeable of the field capacities of their machinery.
Sources Cenex, SA Oil