Gaming for good: How a computer simulation hopes to help with SA’s drought

08 March 2018 - 06:00 By Ernest Mabuza
Scrawny cattle graze on stalks in Delareyville, in North West, a province badly hit by drought. File Photo
Scrawny cattle graze on stalks in Delareyville, in North West, a province badly hit by drought. File Photo

Virtual farmers could prove a vital piece in the cog trying to alleviate the ongoing drought across South Africa‚ after Ster-Kinekor Entertainment said R10 from the sale of every farming simulator game Pure Farming 2018 would be given to AgriSA’s Drought Relief Fund. 

The fund has been set up to assist South African farmers during the current drought.

The company made the announcement on Wednesday. Pure Farming 2018 gets launched next Tuesday.

The drought relief fund was initiated by agricultural company Senwes and AgriSA in December 2015 to mobilise the public to donate funds in order to mitigate the disastrous impact of the drought‚ which is the worst since 1982.

In the first six months of the fund’s establishment‚ AgriSA collected R14-million from the public and businesses. While retail shops provided water and food hampers to the farming communities‚ farmers donated bales of fodder.

Ronelle Hendriks‚ independent product manager at Ster-Kinekor Entertainment‚ said on Wednesday the idea to donate some of the proceeds of the game came from one of Pure Farming 2018’s game modes‚ known as the Daily Farming Challenges.

One of the challenges requires players to maintain their farm during a water crisis‚ which was very relevant to the current situation in South Africa.

“With SA in the grip of a terrible drought…economists have predicted a severe impact on the farming community as well as food security in the country‚ and so it is important that all South Africans rally to the aid of the farmers‚” Hendriks said.

Christo van der Rheede AgriSA’s deputy executive director‚ expressed delight at Ster-Kinekor Entertainment’s contribution.

“We trust that through this game‚ on its virtual platform‚ we will see growth of future farmers and an understanding of the challenges and opportunities everyday farmers face‚” Van der Rheede said.

He said the severe drought experienced in various provinces of the country still called for intervention on a daily basis.

“This contribution will make a remarkable difference in the lives of our farmers‚ farm workers and farming communities‚” Van der Rheede said.

Hendriks said the company aimed for a donation target of R35,000‚ and were hoping South Africans would help them reach this number when Pure Farming 2018 launches. The game is currently on pre-order sale and the price range from R435 for a computer game and between R609 to R679 for PS4 and Xbox One.

Ster-Kinekor Entertainment will then pay the donation over to AgriSA to further assist local farmers benefiting from the drought fund.