Power cuts milk farmers

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Load shedding will add to escalating food prices and contribute to food inflation over the next few years, said Koos Coetzee, chief economist at the Milk Producer's Organisation (MPO).

The MPO says power cuts have cost the dairy industry R100million a month.

Coetzee said load shedding was hammering milk producers and financial losses were rising with each power outage.

Dairy farmers alone were losing R40million each month. Coetzee said farmers never knew when load shedding would occur - their biggest problem.

If the cows were not milked at regular times they suffered from stress, which caused lower milk production.

Coetzee said Eskom's unreliable power cuts had forced dairy farmers to spend more than R240million on supplementary power systems.

"If the losses of the secondary sector are taken into consideration, load shedding is costing the dairy industry more than R100million a month.

"These costs exclude losses incurred by retailers because of interruptions of the cold chain brought on by power failures."