“Agbiz is alarmed at the high incidence of crime in South Africa, particularly in the rural communities where food producers and many of our agribusinesses operate,” said Agbiz CEO, Dr John Purchase. “We strongly reject and condemn all forms of violence and criminality in our communities.”

“Crime in rural areas leaves the entire farming community vulnerable. Furthermore, it affects not only farmers but also farm workers and their families.”

Dr Purchase noted that crime in rural communities not only destroys lives but also progressively destroys rural economies whose well-being is crucial to produce food for the country and attract investment to the sector. “We are in a time where the country is looking to agriculture to contribute to economic growth and job creation. However, this would not be possible without stability in rural areas.

“Rural safety is of critical importance. We urge the government and all relevant stakeholders to work together to find workable solutions to ensure that law and order are upheld in rural communities in order for their economies to thrive.”

The agricultural community should remain alert

Dr Purchase stressed that it is important to address these matters in a calm, co-operative and rational manner. He called on the agricultural community to remain alert, take all necessary precautions and to become actively involved in their local organised agriculture and security structures.

Agbiz also called on policymakers and political leaders to recognise crime in rural areas as a priority that deserves focused efforts from all law enforcement structures and the criminal justice system. Political will is necessary to turn this deteriorating situation around. – Press release, Agbiz