Road closures in flood-ravaged KZN put strain on agriculture sector — Union
The export of produce and imports of agricultural goods have been significantly affected by the recent severe weather conditions in KwaZulu-Natal, the KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) said on Friday.
The union said the major infrastructural damage caused by the heavy rain and flooding was likely to have long-term ramifications for the agricultural sector.
“We are aware of reports from the Midlands and coastal regions, north and south, which seem to be the worst affected. However, reports continue to come in. With severe devastation of infrastructure, and in particular roads and bridges around the port, the passage of goods and services is highly restricted.
“Access to relevant drop off and collection points for agricultural products and supplies which are time sensitive will impact directly on the sector,” said Kwanalu CEO Sandy La Marque.
She said without good infrastructure and basic service delivery the impact will continue to be severe, stifling growth, employment, investment, and export opportunities.
“This most recent disaster which has befallen KwaZulu-Natal continues to demonstrate how fragile the agricultural sector is, and the importance of preventative measures, maintenance, economic nodes and corridors being identified and prioritised.
“These economic corridors are found throughout the province when it comes to agricultural production and food security”, said La Marque.
She said the urgency for action to make the province’s infrastructural repairs and maintenance a priority has become even more pertinent to the agricultural sector.
“It is critical that high level, multi-stakeholder processes are undertaken to ensure food security and employment and that goods and services will be able to flow across the province. Kwanalu will be at the forefront of these issues and will look at solutions from local to national levels. The requirement of government and municipalities in any solutions is critical.”
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