DA CALLS FOR FOOD CRISIS FUND
THE Democratic Alliance in Limpopo has called on the Department of Agriculture to urgently establish an emergency fund to mitigate the effects of frost on farmers.
This was after Limpopo and Mpumalanga experienced severe frosty weather in recent months.
The situation seriously affected crop production, especially of potatoes and tomatoes.
Hardest hit areas are Tzaneen, Levumbu and Mogodi, where the chilly weather damaged most of the agricultural produce.
Producers in the province said consumers should brace themselves for higher prices for tomatoes and potatoes from the beginning of next month until September.
The DA claims the frosty weather has the potential to threaten the province's food security and contribute to the escalation of food prices.
Provincial legislature member Jacques Smalle said the conditions posed a threat to job security for many farmworkers who depended on farming for their survival.
"The majority of the people are in villages and farms and depend solely on the money they get from these farms to take their children to school," he said.
"That is why it is very important for the MEC to do something."
The National Agricultural Marketing Council has predicted an increase in food prices as a result of the frost.
Smalle said the potato industry was said to have lost an estimated 2,5million bags of potatoes.
Spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture Kenny Mathiba said yesterday most of the farms affected were privately owned.
He said the department was hoping that every farmer had insurance in place to assist in natural "unfortunate incidents" such as this.
"We, however, expect those who experienced damages to forward their quotas to the department so that we can know exactly how to assist," he said.
Mathiba said the department was expecting an urgent financial intervention from the government to assist in this regard.