`Olive Harvest in South Africa Proceeds Largely Unhindered

Africa / Middle East

Olive Harvest in South Africa Proceeds Largely Unhindered

Apr. 8, 2020
Lisa Anderson

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More than half of South Africa’s econ­omy came to a halt as the coun­try entered a 21-day lock­down on March 27 to com­bat the spread of COVID-19, but olive har­vest­ing —which started about a month ago and will con­tinue until August— will pro­ceed largely unhin­dered.

Under the country’s lock­down restric­tions South Africans are allowed to leave their homes only to buy essen­tial sup­plies, and to pro­vide essen­tial goods and ser­vices. Providers of essen­tial ser­vices, such as health care work­ers and farm­ers, need per­mits to leave their homes or to travel while per­form­ing their duties.

See more: 2020 Har­vest Updates

Three days before the coun­try entered a lock­down, Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, Land Reform and Rural Devel­op­ment Thoko Didiza assured the agri­cul­tural sec­tor that agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion in all its forms will remain uncom­pro­mised.”

In her mes­sage to the country’s agri­cul­ture and food sec­tor, the min­is­ter urged role play­ers to strictly com­ply and adhere to strict health reg­u­la­tions to con­tain and pre­vent the spread of COVID-19.

Together with the indus­try,” Didiza said, we are work­ing on a sec­tor oper­a­tional pro­ce­dures that would ensure adher­ence to the mea­sures announced by the Pres­i­dent. This includes the pro­vi­sion of san­i­ta­tion to employ­ees within the sec­tor, espe­cially farm­work­ers.”

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Didiza also announced the depart­ment has set aside 1.2 bil­lion ZAR (about $65.8 mil­lion) for the effects of the coro­n­avirus and to ensure sus­tain­able food pro­duc­tion post the pan­demic.”

She fur­ther stated the depart­ment has made 100 mil­lion ZAR (about $5.5 mil­lion) avail­able to the Land and Agri­cul­tural Devel­op­ment Bank of South Africa to assist farm­ers in dis­tress.

In a recent report JPMor­gan Chase & Co. fore­cast that South Africa’s econ­omy will be one of the five coun­try’s economies that will be the most affected by the impact of the coro­n­avirus.

After the coun­try went into lock­down it was dealt two major blows when its credit rat­ing was down­graded to junk sta­tus by rat­ing agency Moody’s Investors Ser­vice, and when rat­ing agency Fitch down­graded its credit rat­ing from BB+ to BB and assigned it a neg­a­tive out­look.



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