The deciduous fruit industry body, Hortgro, has been closely monitoring the situation of producers and agricultural workers affected by the prolonged drought.
Hortgro says that stone fruit producers in the Little Karoo from Montagu, Barrydale, Ladismith, Calitzdorp, through to Prince Albert, have suffered severely; with some even losing their farms, and many farmworkers without income and jobs.
The body said more than 300 hectares of deciduous fruit trees have died and more than 610 farmworkers have lost their jobs with an estimated 2440 dependants.
Hortgro said that in association with the Canning Fruit Producers’ Association, Agri Western Cape, Agri SA and Wine TU have pooled resources to help producers in the Little Karoo financially to carry on with the rest of the production season.
Funds were also made available to contain regional crop protection risks.
On the humanitarian front, Hortgro recently held a ‘resilience workshop’ for producers and farm workers in Ladismith to empower them mentally with coping strategies. Funds were also made available for a thousand food parcels that will be distributed to affected farmworkers in the region, before Christmas.
“We are urging producers and stakeholders in other parts of the country that want to help with the drought effort, financially or in any other capacity, to please contact Hortgro’s Group Operational Manager, Mariette Kotze (Mariette@hortgro.co.za).”