Black farmers lack support

There have been no signs of support for black South African farmers - apart from that received from the government - as the country faces its worst drought in more than 20 years.

But their white counterparts have been receiving overwhelming support.

In a recent statement, agricultural organisation TAU SA which represents predominantly white farmers, said they were receiving amazing support from the public and the private sector.

In recent months, farmers across the country have been hard hit by the lack of water with many losing crops and livestock. This has raised food security concerns as local production continues to dwindle due to inadequate rainfall and intense heat.

TAU SA general manager Bennie van Zyl said in the statement they received calls from organisations and people offering transportation as well as boreholes to assist affected farmers.

"We are overwhelmed by the support from non-farming organisations" said Van Zyl

 

 

However, yesterday, African Farmers' Association of SA (Afasa) general secretary Aggrey Mahanjana said they had not received any material support outside of the government.

Mahanjana said although the public had been sympathetic to the plight of farmers, no one has come up to offer a helping hand.

"We are generally relying on local, provincial and national government for support," he said.

Mahanjana said farmers of all races were equally affected by drought, however black farmers faced more devastation due to lack of resources and historical disadvantage.

He said the lack of resources had left many black farmers unable to prepare for the disaster.

"Black farmers facing drought don't even have a penny to buy animal feed.

"Black farmers are generally farming under difficult circumstances, even when there is no drought," Mahanjana said.

He said they faced ongoing problems including limited grazing land and accessing financial relief through banks.

Mahanjana said white farmers in comparison were able to prepare better for such natural disasters and mitigate the effects.

 

"Government is doing its best to assist. But government does not have a pocket as big as all of us and also has limited resources.

"It is not enough and it will never be enough for everybody."

On Friday, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana said the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform had committed R66.4-million in addition to the R305.3-million already set aside by his department (DAFF).

He said the DAFF had through the Department of Cooperative Governance asked for more funds from National Treasury. He said government was also coordinating other departments for drought response through the expansion of the social relief and household food production support programmes.

mahopoz@sowetan.co.za

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