The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza. File photo: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
The Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza. File photo: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Concern over damage to sugar cane farms in KZN

By Zintle Mahlati Time of article published Jul 17, 2021

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Zintle Mahlati

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, has raised concerns about the impact of damage caused to sugar cane farms, following days of unrest in KwaZulu-Natal.

Didiza visited the farming community of Eshowe in KZN, on Saturday.

Farms in the area were not spared when violence spread in KZN, last week.

Didiza said several some sugar cane farms were set alight. This has raised concerns about the harvesting season.

The unrest also led to the shut-down of farming mills, impacting sugar processing.

"The damage we have seen, such as the burning of the sugar, has affected farmers in this season when they were supposed to be harvesting.

"The closing of the mills has meant that farmers cannot take their sugar canes into the mills. And one of the things we have been trying to do is, by Monday, the mills must be fully operational," Didiza said.

The minister had held meetings with farmers and the agri-sector, on Friday, to assess the extent the unrest on production and related matters.

One of the requests made was for the re-opening of key road networks to allow for the transportation of food and farming supplies.

Didiza said the government has achieved this, along with added security. Fuel delivery has also been resumed.

"One of the requests made by farmers, when we met them along with Agribusiness, was that we open up the road network lines that bring the goods, either as inputs and networks, that facilitates deliveries for the farmers.

"That is what the government has done. That is why we have been able to come here, and that shows the government's interventions have worked," she said.

Didiza said, in a week’s time, the government will have a better sense of the impact of the unrest on the agricultural sector.

Political Bureau

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