WANDILE SIHLOBO: Farmers’ optimism reined in by disease and irregular rainfall
Too early to predict production for this season as drought and foot-and-mouth disease remain problems
The underperformance of SA’s agricultural sector in 2019 was largely caused by two factors: drought and biosecurity (specifically foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever). This was through two channels, namely lower agricultural output because of drought, and subdued trade activity because of a ban on exports of animal products after the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.
Will 2020 be any different? It is hard to tell at this point as the drought and foot-and-mouth disease remain a challenge, specifically in the Eastern Cape but also parts of the Free State and Limpopo.