Agri economist explains Russia-Ukraine war's effect on SA food prices

Agri economist explains Russia-Ukraine war's effect on SA food prices

Dr Johnny Van Der Merwe is a senior lecturer in the field of Agricultural Economics and a member of the TRADE research entity at the North-West University. He is also at AMT, or Agri Market Trends, where he keeps an eye on the price of Agricultural related products.

Agri economist explains Russia-Ukraine war's effect on SA food prices/Unsplash

Business Watch is a daily feature on East Coast Radio - on-air at 06:30 and 18:30, respectively. 

The feature is hosted by economist, award-winning radio producer, WR Van Der Merwe. 


As the Russia-Ukraine war rages on we’re starting to hear reports of how local prices of produce might be affected.

Dr. Johnny Van Der Merwe is a senior lecturer in the field of Agricultural Economics and a member of the TRADE research entity at the North-West University. He is also at AMT, or Agri Market Trends, where he keeps an eye on the price of Agricultural related products.

Dr. Johnny Van Der Merwe joins WR Van Der Merwe on Business Watch for an in-depth discussion on how the Russia-Ukraine War might affect food prices in South Africa.

The world is now becoming aware of just how serious the Russian invasion into Ukraine is.

Interfax Ukraine reported rocket attacks on military facilities throughout Ukraine and that Russian troops had landed in the southern port cities of Odessa and Mariupol. 

WR Van Der Merwe spoke to journalist Nick Hedley about the effect of the Russia/Ukraine conflict would be on South Africa’s economy as well as diplomatic relationships.

It also reported staff and passengers evacuating Kyiv's Boryspil International Airport.


A race with a rich and proud history of being contested by generations of champions of the turf over 125 years, and internationally acknowledged as Africa’s greatest horseracing event, the Durban July will be sponsored by South Africa’s leading betting operator Hollywoodbets, with effect from the 2022 renewal on Saturday 2 July.

The Hollywoodbets Durban July is the flagship event on the East Coast’s KZN Champion Season roster, which will also be the recipient of a major stakes injection of R13 million. The increase in prize money for South Africa's preeminent racing season will apply to both feature and minor races run in the holiday province from 1 March to 31 August.

Devin Heffer Brand and Communications manager of HollywoodBets speaks to WR Van Der Merwe on Business Watch:


Gateway’s wildly popular World of Illusions is making one final splash, with cheerful tropical prints and the most inviting sparkling pool scene you’ve ever seen! It’s the final production of this interactive attraction and it’s not to be missed! If you haven’t already seen the previous installations, now is the time to put reality on pause and boggle your mind with a visit to the World of Illusions Summer Edition.

All six of the illusions have been completely redone, although the optical trickery remains the same.

1. Underwater Room
2. Infinity room
3. Ames Room
4. Bottomless pit
5. Upside down room
6. Beuchet chair

Created by Jesse Beuchet in 1963, this illusion is an example of confounded ambiguity. You need to see that pink chair for the illusion to be revealed.

Know before you go:

Date: 18 January until the end of March (TBC)
Tickets: Free
Opening times: Gateway trading hours
Where: Upstairs near Food Republic on the Cinema Level.
Bring: Your smartphone, friends and an abundance of curiosity.

*World of Illusions is a Covid compliant activation that can be fully enjoyed without compromising your health.

Listen to the full podcast below:


Thula Solutions has partnered with Bloemfontein-based bakkie builder Brandt BRV to develop the first South African-made electric 4×4. The 4×4 is a bespoke product and is called the Thula Electric Safari Viewer (ESV). WR van Der Merwe features Founder and CEO of Thula Solutions Gary Davies on Business Watch.

Listen to the podcast below:


If you are an animal lover, you’ll love Royal Canin South Africa’s Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) recycling initiative at Cornubia Mall in Durban.

You can now deposit recyclable materials and in exchange, Royal Canin will donate pet food to animal shelter beneficiaries across the country.

Listen to the podcast below:


You might have woken up this morning wanting to scroll through OLX to see the latest classifieds in your area, only to be met with an error. 

Naspers launched OLX in South Africa in 2011, competing directly with local classifieds platforms Bidorbuy and Gumtree and now they've shut it down. 


Due to huge customer demand, Pick 'n Pay today launched its new Vehicle Licence Disc Renewal Service nationally. Customers will now be able to renew their licence disc in over 500 Pick n Pay stores, across South Africa, at an amended service fee of R250. 



The heavy rains across the coast in the last couple of weeks once again revealed a pest in our oceans and rivers - plastic pollution!

Tons of plastic materials are littered every year and it seems like governments and producers are turning a blind eye to the problem.

Coca-Cola recently launched its Jamii sustainability platform. The platform will invest in water and waste management, as well as youth economic empowerment. 

Recently, South African conservation group the Litterboom Project revealed the severe plastic pollution in the Umhlanga River.

WR Van Der Merwe has more in Business Watch in the podcast below:


Pick 'n Pay has confirmed it will pay out social relief of distress (SRD) grants for beneficiaries with a Postbank account throughout December, including public holidays and weekends. L

Listen to the podcast below for more details:


According to an interesting piece on Business Insider, the total number of available rental vehicles across all sectors – cars, 4x4s, and motorhomes – dropped by more than 60% compared to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

So, how will the 4th wave of COVID-19 further affect these figures? 


"Buns ruled the world!"

The most popular orders included burgers, pizza, and chicken. 

But, what makes South Africa such an integral part of the UberEats economy? Take a listen below for more interesting information.

The third annual Uber Eats Cravings Report has been released where the most unusual, and some of the most unique delivery order requests are featured.

So, in a time when e-commerce and convenience have reigned supreme, what have South Africans been craving the most?

Listen to the podcast below and click here to see the full report.

Are we heading for R20/ litre of fuel soon?

According to economists and participants in the private sector, an increase to R20 a litre is a very real scenario in the coming weeks – and it is the consumer that, again will have to carry the burden.

Chief Operating Officer at leading freight business, Big Foot Express, Denesh Singh said the knock-on effect of the fuel hike would hurt the pockets of consumers.


As we head into the consumer madness that is Black Friday, take a step back and be careful where you spend your money.

Do you know where the product is from? Do you know what impact it has on the environment and on the economy by being manufactured? And in whose pockets will your hard-earned money end up. is a proudly South African platform that features products that are made in ... South Africa.

Business Watch's WR Van Der Merwe features Happy Ngidi, Chief Marketing Officer at Proudly South African.


Recently a video did the rounds of WhatsApp of a lady filming the massive queue of trucks filled with coal heading for the Mozambique border. 

Many might label it as fake news, but it’s not.

The export market for coal remains very important because it creates an economic balance that keeps coal producers profitable while they continue to supply Eskom at low margins - consulting principal coal geologist Lesley Jeffrey


Dr. Johnny Van Der Merwe from Market Agri trends confirms that the price of tomatoes, carrots, onions, certain peppers, Cabbage, and spinach increased recently, BUT, prices of other vegetables might be inflated at the wholesale level because of supply and demand in the market trends show a different picture.


It is important that commuter trains waste as little time as possible when leaving platforms, not only to save passengers time when traveling from station to station but also to allow for trains to arrive at the station in quick succession, especially during peak periods.

In order to allow this, the motor that drives the train must be designed to provide high torque at low speed for fast acceleration from the platform, while displaying low torque once the train is running at high speed. Gibela uses traction motors – electric motors that do just this – in its passenger trains. These specially designed traction motors are now being locally produced by Gibela.

Gibela’s passenger trains are designed specifically for South Africa’s gauge tracks. “From the mid-19th century, the 1.067m Cape gauge rail track became widespread in the British Empire.

This was selected in South Africa to reduce the cost of building tracks across and through the mountains found in several parts of the country and is still the predominant gauge in South Africa.

Main image attribution: Unsplash

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