The focus will be on the efficiency of the value chain, market dynamics relating to farmers, the participation of small farmers and barriers to entry due to the regulatory environment.
The Competition Commission has launched an inquiry into the fresh produce market in South Africa, it announced on Monday.
The commission will probe the prices that farmers – especially small-scale and emerging farmers – receive, examining aspects of the value chain which lessen competitiveness, looking at the sale of fresh produce by farmers to retailers, processors and for the export market.
The sale and distribution of processed products will be excluded from the inquiry.
“Agriculture plays a significant role in the South African economy as it contributes to food production, job creation, raw material supply to agro-industrial and manufacturing sectors, as well as export-driven foreign exchange income,” the Commission said in a statement.
The inquiry is essential to understand the market features affecting prices, as well as the challenges faced by farmers, it added.
South African consumers faced surging food prices in 2021 despite an abundant agricultural harvest. The trend is likely to be exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which placed pressure on fertiliser prices.
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