Farmers to receive aid after wildfire damage

Farmers to receive aid after wildfire damage

9 September 2008

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South Africa — Farmers who suffered damage in the recent wildfires in the Waterberg district municipality in Limpopo will receive free fodder to help them get back on their feet.

The provincial government has set aside R2 million.

The agreement to help the farmers follows a meeting between MEC for the Department of Agriculture and Land Administration Dikeledi Magadzi, the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU-SA North) and various farmers on 3 September.

“As a department we have decided to help the farmers recover the damage they suffered in the wildfires,” said departmental spokesperson Thembi Makhuvele on Monday.

She said all affected farmers were expected to fill in the claim forms which are available at the regional offices of the department in Modimolle.

Ms Makhuvele said 50 tons of fodder will immediately be available to the farmers whose plantations and grazing fields were razed during the wildfire outbreak.

She said the department will provide transport while the Alma Agriculture Union will help allocate the fodder.

TAU SA chairperson Jan Viljoen praised the department for their contribution.

“We would like to express our gratitude to the MEC for her willingness to attend the matter seriously,” said Mr Viljoen.

He also expressed thanks to the South African National Defence Force who dispatched three helicopters to help put out the fires. Local farmers also assisted firefighters bring the fires under control.

One unidentified person was killed while farmer Andries Roentgen was seriously injured, according to Mr Viljoen.

He said an estimated 200 000 hectares of veld was destroyed along with 50 hectares of grassland which was being prepared as fodder for winter.

Some 16 hactares of maize was destroyed while sun panels, pipes, irrigation equipment and pump stations were burned.

“It will cost R17 million to provide fodder for cattle and other animals until the next rain, which is expected around middle October,” he said.

Mr Viljoen said some farmers lost their cattle in the blaze while elands, njalas, kudu’s, impalas and zebras were killed.

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