Agri SA welcomes the budget delivered by Minister Enoch Godongwana on 22 February 2023. While government could have gone further in addressing the challenges facing the agricultural sector, the budget reflected a sober analysis of the environment in which we operate. It demonstrated an understanding of the particular difficulties faced by the sector with significant implications for food security.

We welcome the debt relief for Eskom, recognising the dire condition of this critical entity. It is important, however, for Eskom now to demonstrate how it will use this opportunity to position itself for future sustainability and profitability.

Agri SA also acknowledges the measures put in place to assist the agricultural sector while government works to put Eskom on a firmer footing. Of particular note is the extension of the rebate of the Road Accident Fund levy for diesel used by manufacturers of foodstuff. This intervention will help to contain the cost of food production to the benefit of consumers.

The implementation of the Fiscal Support Package to address the energy crisis will also go some way to assisting both households and businesses in this difficult environmental. Agri SA must still study the likely impact of this intervention for farmers in particular.

The planned spending of more than R480 billion on critical infrastructure including transport and logistics, as well as water and sanitation also reflects Treasury’s understanding of the essential contribution of these vital projects to the national economy and the country’s food security.

While the failure to grant any reprieve on the tobacco and alcohol excises taxes is disappointing, Agri SA is pleased by the decision not to increase the Health Promotion Levy.

There remain areas of concern in the national budget, notably the public sector wage bill. Yet Agri SA is satisfied overall that Minister Godongwana has understood the context in which the budget was delivered. This is a critical moment for an agricultural sector that is being battered by loadshedding. Only time will tell if government will meet the moment with the urgency it requires in the implementation of the interventions announced.

Source: Agri SA