Don't panic, there is enough food to last beyond lockdown period, says agriculture minister

25 March 2020 - 08:41 By Nomahlubi Jordaan
Thoko Didiza says the lockdown will have minimal impact on farmers and that government has rescheduled their debt.
Thoko Didiza says the lockdown will have minimal impact on farmers and that government has rescheduled their debt.
Image: Ésa Alexander/Sunday Times

Minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development Thoko Didiza says there is enough food to carry South Africans through the 21-day lockdown period-and warns against panic buying.

“There will be enough food that will take us to a longer period because production lines are still continuing. We are asking consumers to not panic, because panic buying causes unnecessary stress,” Didiza told Radio 702 on Wednesday.

She emphasised that grocery shops will be open during the lockdown period. Wheat is available and bread will not run out, Didiza said.

“The danger of stockpiling is that people will buy without checking the expiry date,” said the minister.

She said the lockdown will have minimal affect on farmers, as production will continue.

“We've arranged the rescheduling of debt for farmers. They will still be able to operate.”

Didiza also warned the business sector against inflating prices during lockdown.

“Government has been able to alert the competition commission to investigate. Industry should not take advantage of the lockdown period by inflating prices,” said Didiza.

“We need to protect one another. When you buy, remember there is somebody that is not yet at the shop who wants to buy the same product. This period should teach us solidarity,” Didiza said.

SA will be in lockdown from midnight on Thursday to April 16.


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