Just short of R200 million in fire damage has been reported to the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said damages of R192.3 million were reported in the Hessequa and George regions. The estimation is drawn from questionnaires distributed to farmers, by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture.
“In total, we received feedback from 79 farms. The data shows that infrastructure, crops, livestock, natural vegetation, grazing, fencing and water pipelines have been destroyed. According to the information we have received, about R22 million worth of damages is not covered by insurance. This consists of damage to grazing, fences, pipe lines, watering points for animals and irrigation systems.”
Minister Winde said the department had conducted the surveys to assess the impact of the fires on the agriculture sector. The fires swept through the province earlier this year.
“Due to the drought, our agriculture sector is already under pressure, especially in terms of fodder for grazing. The fire damage adds to this burden, and farmers will have to purchase additional fodder where there has been significant damage to grazing. This will have to continue until the rains start, and the veld has recovered. Added to this is the cost of replacing infrastructure such as farm buildings, fences and watering points for animal and irrigation systems.”
Minister Winde said the department’s Sustainable Resource Management programme was allocated R86 million in the current financial year, in part to assist with disaster management in the agriculture sector.
“The Sustainable Resource Management programme works with farmers to reduce the risk of damage in the case of a disaster. In terms of fires, this includes regular clearing of alien vegetation to limit the spread of fires.”
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
142 Long Street, Cape Town