Gareth Ackerman, chairman of Pick n Pay, warned that South Africa was extremely vulnerable and all that was needed to shake its food security was one severe drought, TimesLIVE reports.
Ackerman said food production came under pressure as social grants had turned many people into consumers; land restitution had left some farms unproductive; and foreign investors had bought land only to use it to grow crops exclusively for export, while population growth and urbanisation necessitated increased food production.
Ackerman said he was concerned about the danger of political unrest if there was a sudden spike in food prices. "Part of the maize problem is not only feeding people, but feeding the protein stock [animals] that feeds people." He added that higher maize prices were making poultry expensive, further squeezing consumers who are already paying more for electricity and transport.
According to TimesLIVE, hunger is already on South Africa's doorstep, as neighbouring Lesotho is in dire straits, according to the World Food Programme. The tiny country's maize production fell by 77% this year and its wheat harvest halved.
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