Over the past few days during the 21-day-Covid-19 lockdown, the complex nature of South Africa’s food supply chains has come under the spotlight. These supply chains are a web of formal and informal interactions between agricultural inputs, logistics, farmers, spazas, bakkie traders, processing plants, shipping, retailing, biosecurity and more. Despite the reference to essential goods and services that need to continue to operate, the announcement by President Ramaphosa of a 21-day lockdown triggered a sharp rise in purchases of food that, according to various retailers, exceeded the volumes that are typically sold over Christmas.
In the first two information sessions on the impact of COVID-19, the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) provided an overview of the South African food system and food expenditure patterns by consumers respectively. It sheds light on the complex nature of the food supply chain and the extent of the essential goods and services required for its effective operation.