Despite various challenges in trade and animal diseases, South Africa’s agricultural sector has had a good few seasons. But one other crucial issue is road deterioration; in some provinces, such as the Eastern Cape, roads are almost non-existent in various regions.

These past few days, farmers in areas such as the Ncora region of the Eastern Cape have struggled to receive diesel supplies, which they need to keep the dairy farming entities running given the load-shedding, feeds, and concentrates. The roads are so bad and muddy in this rainy weather that farmers can’t even deliver the milk to processing facilities; it’s a cocktail of challenges.

We should not have such challenges in a province like the Eastern Cape, where the government leadership speaks of its drive for agricultural development, expansion, job creation, and agri-tourism.

The essential ingredients for such a vision of prosperous agriculture (and agri-tourism) are proper roads and water infrastructure (since energy is a separate big issue). With such poor roads, we will also struggle to see decent participation of black farmers at the commercial farming level.

I’ve centred my comment on the Eastern Cape, but the challenge applies across the country, with perhaps an exception of the Western Cape.

I will reflect on this issue with government colleagues at the national level. Still, the provincial government structures and municipalities must do their part and assist with essential infrastructure maintenance to support business activity.

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