Floods ravage livelihoods of KZN sugar cane growers

The livelihoods of hundreds of sugar cane growers in KZN is at risk following the recent flooding disaster which caused extensive crop, root and infrastructure damage.

The livelihoods of hundreds of sugar cane growers in KZN is at risk following the recent flooding disaster which caused extensive crop, root and infrastructure damage.

Published Apr 20, 2022

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CAPE TOWN - The livelihoods of hundreds of sugar cane growers in KZN is at risk following the recent flooding disaster which caused extensive crop, root and infrastructure damage.

SA Canegrowers conducted a survey among cane growers in rural areas of KZN to determine the impact of the recent rains and flooding.

The preliminary results, which have been sent to the national government, show extensive damage to cane fields and farm infrastructure, as well as damage to access routes which allow growers to deliver their cane to mills.

By Tuesday afternoon, just over 300 growers had responded to the survey and reported that 2516.65 hectares of cane had extensive crop and root damage, requiring the total replanting of these fields to bring them back into production.

This damage comes to an estimated R194.9 million.

Farm infrastructure to the value of R27.9m has also been destroyed, bringing the total losses to R222.9m.

“This catastrophic damage comes just as many cane growers had started recovering from the riots and arson attacks that took place in July last year, which saw 554 000 tons of cane being burnt and R84m in losses,” SA Canegrowers said.

“It is clear that this latest tragedy could be the final death knell for hundreds of cane growers and the rural livelihoods they support. In particular, small-scale growers are most at risk of not recovering from losses of this magnitude.”

SA Canegrowers said it received a request from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition as well as the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

“SA Canegrowers has requested urgent financial and infrastructure relief from government to all affected growers so they are able to replant their cane fields and sustain a cash flow while they rebuild their farms in order to be in production by the next harvest season. The report also included a list of local roads and bridges that need to be prioritised for repairs so workers are able to access farms and growers are able to transport cane to mills,” they said.

Cape Times

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