The COVID-19 is setting the agricultural sector apart. Numerous agricultural activities have already felt the weight and impact of the virus.
Grain SA had to postpone its annual NAMPO Harvest Day scheduled annually in May – Bothaville. NAMPO last year alone attracted 81 345 visitors over 4-days including 775 exhibitors.
“The health and safety of visitors, exhibitors, staff, sponsors and the entire agricultural community during the NAMPO Harvest Day are paramount and an event of this magnitude poses too great a risk to continue during the initially stipulated dates” said Jannie de Villiers, CEO of Grain SA.
Ncera Macadamia Festival held in Buffalo City Eastern Cape was billed for a spectacular showcasing of ncera community macadamia harvesting. The event was moved from September to March in order align to national harvesting celebrations said princess Nomaxhosa Jongilanga.
The Wines of South Africa harboured concerns over the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak amid the closures of winery restaurants and tasting rooms.
“Although wine cannot be enjoyed in some of our favourite tasting rooms or winery restaurants in the following weeks, it is business as usual in terms of sales and online sales of wine” said WOSA.
The lockdown of agricultural activities peddled fears of South African trading ports being closed with further possibilities of a knock-on effect on food supply. This comes after the Minister of Home Affairs Aaron Motsoaledi announced measures to close a number of SA border entry points.
Transnet Ports has however come out to allay business sector fears by affirming that all 8 commercial ports were open for imports and exports. President Ramaphosa was expected to make further announcements on measures to contain COVID-19. Against this backdrop, there was already an ongoing debate over containing the outbreak for health reasons vis a vis ensuring the continuation of economic activity.