SACCI concerned at farm attacks

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Pretoria - The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) has expressed concern at the number of farm attacks within the country costing the economy a lot of money.

By making use of the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figure of R2.4 trillion of 2009, a 3.22 percent contribution of agriculture to GDP and an estimated 39 982 farms in the country, the cost of farm attacks to the economy is R1 932 869 a year.

"This estimate assumes a permanent loss of the farming unit. Assuming that there is only a temporary loss of productivity of the farming unit, the loss to GDP is an estimated R161 072 per month. This is a modest, conservative approach to the impact of farm attacks on economic output," the Chamber said.

It is by no means a comprehensive estimate of economic impact of the attacks on farms or the direct, indirect and opportunity costs of such farm attacks, explained the Chamber.

SACCI said its estimate did not factor in various types of farming, the impact on domestic food security or the impact on job security but rather assumes that all farms contribute equally towards GDP and that attacks impact on productivity at farms.

"Costs such as these further impede South Africa's currently modest recovery from the global economic crisis. They constitute a hidden, but significant negative impact on small and medium sized enterprises in particular, and add to the cost of doing business," it said.

SACCI believes that it is imperative that the causes of the attacks and murders are immediately addressed, not only on moral and legal grounds, but also in the national economic interest.

The Chamber will engage the relevant authorities towards developing strategies to curtail the alarming trends in relation to attacks on farms.

AgriSA reported that farm attacks were now on the rise. At the weekend, attackers fired and killed a Potchefstroom farmer.