No need for panic buying as food supply chain remains operational - economist

Agriculture Business Chamber economist Wandile Sihlobo says there is no need to panic buy and that doing so may in fact disrupt the food supply chain.

Sihlobo was speaking to Joanne Joseph on the Afternoon Drive on COVID-19 and what it means for South Africa's food supply.

He says as all of the supporting services in the chain remain operational, the goal is to ensure that there is an efficient flow of food as usual.

We are good in terms of the supply and where its going and to the point that we are saying the shops will remain open but not only the shops, starting from the farm - those will remain operational. The goal is to ensure that there is an efficient flow of food as usual so South Africans are able to access all of those things.

Wandile Sihlobo, Economist - Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz)

I am understanding of the fear that people may perhaps have but I think there is no need to be panic buying because firstly you have the raw material supply, secondly everything else in the chain will remain operational and the point where consumers access their products, that too will remain operational.

Wandile Sihlobo, Economist - Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz)

Panic buying even does now, it's actually disruptive because if in certain stores you know you keep a certain amount of stock, there is this artificial demand that comes out and breaks those supply chains - it creates these inconvenience where people might think that there are shortages but it's actually induced because of our behaviour on how we shop, which is way different than the normal patterns at which business people plan.

Wandile Sihlobo, Economist - Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz)

He also adds that there is no need to worry about price hikes given President Cyril Ramaphosa's reassurance.

I think the president made the point clear yesterday. People are aware of the difficulties of the day and I don't anticipate that people might be taking advantage of this but we are not only depending on that, there are monitoring systems that have been put in place so I think people can sit back and know that most of these things will really be running in a normal way and they will be able to get their supplies when needed.

Wandile Sihlobo, Economist - Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz)

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