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Drought will have disastrous consequences for pig farmers in South Africa

Staff writer |
The devastating drought gripping South Africa is having a disastrous impact on pork producers and will lead to inevitable increases in the price of pork products.

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The South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) says even if good rains fall now, it will be too late for many farmers to recover from the knock they are taking.

“Up to 60 percent of pig feed is comprised of maize and because maize farmers have been unable to plant decent crops this season, the price for available yellow maize increased since February 2015 by 70 percent. Many pork producers are in difficulty and are facing financial hardships,” said Simon Streicher, CEO of SAPPO.

Mr Streicher said farmers are looking to maintain the same level of production as in the past but with limited, and increasingly expensive, resources.

“Producing the same quality and quantity of pork products in these conditions is a challenge and output will decrease. This will obviously have a domino effect on supply and demand and increases in pork prices are unavoidable. There is no alternative, they have to increase,” said Streicher.

He said the picture is especially bleak for emerging farmers. “They either feed their families or look after their farms. The choice they make is obvious.”

Apart from the drought, other factors such as the weakening rand, unstable electricity supply, and increased labour costs are also adding to the pressures of pork producers.

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