At least R91m needed to help KZN farmers recover from flood
Farmers report damage to crops, soil, irrigation systems, farmhouses and workers’ living quarters
It will cost at least R91.1m to replant eroded crops and repair damaged infrastructure caused by the heavy rains in KwaZulu-Natal.
The SA Farmers Development Association (Safda), which has been collecting information from farmers, released a preliminary report showing some of the effects the floods had on farmers.
It said more than R49m will be required for replanting crops and R42m for repairing infrastructure.
“This report shows a number of growers affected as information keeps coming all day and every day,” Safda said.
It said waterlogging has been experienced by most farmers, resulting in damage to the roots of crops and the leaching of inputs such as fertiliser and chemicals.
Safda said some farmers lost all their crops because of soil erosion.
Safda said some farmers would have to replant all their crops.
“To date we have recorded 1,537.4ha of cane and cash crops having been eroded. At an estimated cost of R32,000 to replant per hectare, this totals R49,196,800 as we have confirmed that almost all affected fields need to be replanted,” Safda said.
It said cash and subsistence crops such as vegetables were reported as destroyed for most farmers.
Safda said small-scale farmers depended on such crops for cash and consumption.
“This means such farmers lost not only on the business but their household food source.”
The association said help with seedlings, fertiliser and food parcels may be necessary.
Safda said the total estimated cost of repairing damaged infrastructure amounts to R42m. It said many farms experienced severe damage to access roads and infield roads. Safda said bridges collapsed, making driving into the farms and extracting produce impossible.
“This poses a serious threat which will last beyond the rain season. When the rain is over mills will open and farmers be expected to deliver their cane produce for crushing. This will not be possible before the collapsed farm bridges and roads are repaired.”
A lot of farmers reported farm buildings damaged or flooded. Safda said farmhouses were destroyed and in other instances farm workers lost their shelter too.
“The intervention required in this, and other similar instances is to assist with rebuilding farmhouses and farm workers’ quarters.”
Farmers in irrigated areas have experienced severe damage to irrigation such as pipes and pumps.
“To confirm the extent of the damage the services of engineers and technicians will be required.”
Safda said the process of collecting information is still in progress.
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