Johannesburg - The truck drivers' strike is resulting in
losses by suppliers of fresh produce and driving up prices, Agri SA said on
"Not only does it impact on essential daily provision
of products to consumers but, unlike non-perishable products, involves direct
losses," Agri SA president Johannes Möller said in a statement.
He said fresh produce could only be kept in storage for a
limited amount of time before it spoiled.
"This will not only impact negatively on the financial
position of producers, employees on farms and rural economies, but also on
urban consumers who will have to pay higher prices due to the shortages."
The strike would affect South Africa's agricultural export
market, as fresh produce suppliers could not get their products to foreign
customers before they spoiled.
"Needless to add, foreign buyers, especially of fresh
produce, will not tolerate poorer quality or inadequate provision as a result
of local strikes, especially those that impact on harbour facilities,"
The SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) and
Transnet had said the union would embark on a one-day strike for port and rail
workers if the dispute involving truck drivers had not ended.
Möller suggested agricultural exporters had the opportunity
to take advantage of a weakened rand if they were able to get their products
out in a timely manner.
He said trucks transporting agricultural products had been
affected by the strike. Farmers had stopped delivering sugar cane after shots
were fired at trucks at a sugar mill in Underberg.
Trucks carrying vegetables had also been targeted in the
Möller said the agriculture industry would have to consider
whether liability for its losses could be reclaimed in some way.
"It cannot simply be written off for the account of a
democratic right," Möller said.
On Tuesday three smaller unions: the Transport and Allied
Workers Union of South Africa, the Motor Transport Workers Union and the
Professional Transport Workers Union, agreed to suspend strike action and
return to work.
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