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How the alcohol ban could collapse SA’s farming industry

How the alcohol ban could collapse SA’s farming industry

7 August 2020

The government can dress it up any way they like, but the alcohol ban is an enormous threat to employment in South Africa – just ask the farming community.

For every reason the government can produce in favour of an alcohol ban there is always a compelling argument against it. The ‘lives vs livelihoods’ debate has caused unnecessary conflict in South Africa, which is just one of a handful of nations that decided to fight COVID-19 by halting the sale of liquor.



Their controversial tactic – and subsequent stubbornness to change the policy – now threatens one of the most crucial parts of our economy. The farming and agricultural industry is set to suffer a hammer blow in the coming months, as demand for barley drops through the floor.

The crop is a key ingredient in the production of beer, and it grows almost exclusively in the Western Cape. However, executive director of Agri SA – Omri van Zyl – fears that the currant restrictions will decimate the provincial economy, causing a massive knock-on effect across the country next year.


“Barley is mostly produced in one region – Southern Cape – and this alcohol ban will have a major impact on their regional economy following a devastating drought last year.”

“The carry-over of barley stocks will have a negative impact on the tonnages produced next year. Farmers are expecting good yields this season, but still need follow-up rain in the next month to complete a good harvest. Government is losing billions in tax and excise income from illegal alcohol sales.” – Omri van Zyl



South African Breweries (SAB) have also registered their concerns about the farming industry. The group has been forced to pour millions of litres of its own beer supply away, and branded the alcohol ban as a ‘nightmare’:

“A once thriving farming industry is under threat of being uprooted due to the alcohol ban. Dreams of prosperity have turned into nightmares of uncertainty. How much longer can this go on?”

“An entire value chain was not consulted before their futures were placed at risk. Somehow, we need to move forward as we’ve always done – together.” – SAB statement



Source: The South African

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