Verwoestende veldbrande groot bekommernis vir landbou

Die veldbrande in Julie, Augustus en September vanjaar het groot verwoesting in die Noord-Kaap, Vrystaat en Noordwes gesaai. Na beraming het meer as ’n 270 000 hektaar die naweek in die Noord-Kaap afgebrand.

In die Vrystaat is meer as 52 plase verwoes. Een van die landbouers het 90% van sy 1 000 hektaar-plaas verloor, insluitend 400 dragtige ooie. In die Noordwes-provinsie is na beraming meer as 500 000 hektaar in vier maande afgebrand.

“Dit beslaan bykans 5% van die totale provinsie se oppervlakte,” sê Andrea Campher, Agri SA Risiko en Rampbestuurder.

“Agri SA, deur sy strukture, is besig om die omvang van die skade te bepaal, maar is bekommerd dat die uitdagings op grondvlak baie groter is as die inligting tans tot ons beskikking.” Droë en sterk winde die laaste paar weke het die ideale toestande vir wegholbrande geskep.

“Die omvang van die skade is so groot dat, indien die geaffekteerde dele as rampgebiede verklaar word, die staat nie oor die vermoë sal beskik om boere by te staan nie,” sê Campher.

“Weens burokratiese rompslomp sal ramphulp nie betyds gelewer word nie, omdat staatshulpbronne onder druk geplaas is weens die Covid-19-pandemie. Die droogtehulp wat tans verskaf word is onder die vaandel van die heersende droogterampverklaring wat deur die regering gemaak is.

”Die aanvraag na ruvoer is reeds onder druk weens voerhulp wat aan droogte-geteisterde gebiede voorsien word. “Die beskikbaarheid van ruvoer is ook onder druk aan die einde van die winter aangesien die lente groeiseisoen nog nie begin het nie,” sê Willem Symington, voorsitter van Agri SA se Natuurlike Hulpbronne Sentrum van Uitnemendheid.

Agri SA moedig die publiek aan om by te dra tot die organisasie se ramphulpfonds, wat deur Agri SA Disaster Relief Foundation bestuur word.

“Donateurs kwalifiseer ook vir ’n artikel 18A-sertifikaat,” verseker Campher. “Fondse sal spesifiek aangewend word vir die aankoop van veevoer, vervoerkostes en infrastruktuur soos omheining om lewende hawe te beveilig.”

Devastating veld fires a serious concern for agriculture

The veld fires in July, August and September this year caused enormous devastation in the Northern Cape, Free State and North West. It is estimated that more than 270 000 hectares were destroyed by fire in the Northern Cape, while more than 52 farms were destroyed in the Free State. One farmer lost 90% of his 1 000 ha farm, including 400 ewes in lamb.

“In North West, fire destroyed approximately 500 000 hectares within four months,” says Andrea Campher Agri SA’s Risk and Disaster Manager. “This amounts to about 5% of total land in the province. Agri SA, via its structures, is in the process of assessing the damage, but is concerned that the challenges on the ground are much greater than the information at our disposal

.” Dry and strong winds during the past few weeks have created ideal conditions for runaway fires. “The extent of the damage is such that, should the affected districts be declared disaster areas, the state would not have the capacity of assist farmers,” says Campher.

“Given bureaucratic red tape, it will be impossible to provide disaster relief in time because state resources are under pressure as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and drought aid that is currently being rolled out in terms of the prevailing drought disaster declaration.” Demand for roughage is already under pressure due to feed aid provided to droughtstricken areas. “We are also nearing the end of the roughage season,” says Willem Symington, Chairman of Agri SA’s Natural Resources Centre of Excellence.

Agri SA is encouraging the public to contribute to the organisation’s disaster relief fund, which is managed by the Agri SA Disaster Relief Foundation.

“Donors also qualify for a section 18(A) certificate. Funds will be used specifically for the purchase of stock feed, transportation costs and infrastructure such as fencing to safeguard livestock,” Campher assures.