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KZN farmers sufferers over R50 million in damages due to storms

Over 600 livestock was lost during the heavy rains that swept through the province in the recent weeks, the department of agriculture has warned that this may affect food prices as farmers have suffered over R50 million in damages. Picture Supplied.

Over 600 livestock was lost during the heavy rains that swept through the province in the recent weeks, the department of agriculture has warned that this may affect food prices as farmers have suffered over R50 million in damages. Picture Supplied.

Published Jan 14, 2022

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SIBONISO MNGADI

THE KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Bongi Sithole-Moloi has warned of a possible hike in food prices as farmers were counting their losses after recent storms wreaked havoc across the province.

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Sithole-Moloi revealed that the provisional estimated damage suffered by farmers amounted to over R50 million, with farms in the Midlands areas (Pietermaritzburg and surroundings) the most affected.

Over 600 livestock was lost during the heavy rains that swept through the province in the recent weeks, the department of agriculture has warned that this may affect food prices as farmers have suffered over R50 million in damages. Picture Supplied.

Having conducted an assessment of the damages done to farms around the Midlands area, it was discovered that livestock and crop production was severely affected.

Sithole-Moloi has since called for an urgent intervention from their national department while she has started the process to access emergency funds to provide immediate assistance to the affected farmers.

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She told members of the media that farmers had lost as many as 700 livestock, while over 3000 hectares of various crops were washed away.

Also, agricultural infrastructure, such as bridges, dip tanks and irrigation systems, were damaged, forcing many farmers to halt their operations.

"The northern parts of the province were the hardest-hit by the storm to a point that some farms had become inaccessible.

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KZN MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development Bongi Sithole-Moloi assessing farms in the KZN Midlands where most of the farmers were affected. Picture supplied.

We have deployed our officials to further assess and quantify the extent of the damages, as we have been approved for intervention from the national office. We are really worried about the impact this may have on food security and prices. We have since urged everyone to continue with home gardening to minimise the impacts.“

Sithole-Moloi also met with organised farmers from the Midlands, who have confirmed that their operations have been halted because of storm damages.

This now means that hundreds of farmworkers will not earn an income, and food production will dip because harvest targets will not be met.

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“We are continuing to intervene where there is still a chance to revive crops, but where we cannot, we have to accept a loss and start from scratch,” said Sithole-Moloi.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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