Most farmers in the Free State are rejoicing over the recent rainfall in the province, but this also comes with certain challenges, such as the condition of roads in rural areas and damage to crops.
According to a Free State Agriculture (FSA) survey among its regional representatives, most districts received above-average rainfall. According to Koot Naudé, regional representative in the Ngwathe district, which includes Heilbron, Edenville and Parys, there is currently no flood damage in the area. However, some fields have extensively washed away.
Naudé says sunflower plantings still need to be done in some parts, but that the wet conditions currently do not allow for it. A major concern, however, is the road conditions in the district. “The condition of roads has deteriorated even more and, in some parts, they are completely obstructed.”
The Nketoana district, with towns such as Reitz and Lindley, has already received 100mm over the weekend alone. According to Nollie Steyn, FSA regional representative for the district, there are still quite a few farmers who must harvest wheat. Also, the condition of roads has now become a big issue.
Meanwhile, certain farmers in Hoopstad and Bultfontein are in despair due to severe flood damage to fields and houses. In addition to the fact that they have damage to infrastructure, there is also the possibility that they could lose their plantings.
FSA is already in talks with the head of Cogta in the province but will also look within its own ranks where the need can be alleviated. The organisation aids farmers by means of a disaster fund. Members of the public or organisations who want to contribute can SMS their name to 37846 (SMSes cost R1. Ts and Cs apply). The FSA will then contact you. – Press release, Free State Agriculture