KZN agriculture counts the costs of devastating floods
KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union warns that floods will affect the exports and imports
The severe devastation to infrastructure caused by floods this week will affect the export of produce and the import of agricultural-related goods, and is likely to have long-term ramifications for the agricultural sector, warns the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu).
“We are aware of reports from the midlands and coastal regions (north and south), which seem to be the worst affected, however, reports continue to come in. With the severe devastation of the infrastructure and, in particular, roads and bridges around the port, the passage of goods and services is highly restricted. Access to relevant drop-off and collection points for agricultural products and supplies, which are time sensitive, will [affect] ... the sector,” Kwanalu CEO Sandy La Marque told Business Day.
Kwanalu, Agri SA and other provincial unions recently expressed concern over the poor road conditions in rural areas of the country and the effect they have on food security, the agricultural sector and economic growth.
“Without good infrastructure and basic service delivery, the impact will continue to be severe, stifling growth, employment, investment and export opportunities. This most recent disaster, which has befallen KwaZulu-Natal continues to demonstrate how fragile the agricultural sector is, and the importance of preventive measures, maintenance, economic nodes, and corridors being identified and being prioritised. These economic corridors are found throughout the province when it comes to agricultural production and food security”, said La Marque.
The urgency for action in making KwaZulu-Natal’s infrastructural repairs and maintenance a priority has become even more pertinent to the agricultural sector.
“It is critical that high-level, multi-stakeholder processes are undertaken to ensure that food security, employment, and goods and services will be able to flow across the province, Kwanalu will be at the forefront of these issues and will look at solutions from local to national levels, the [role] of government and municipalities in any solutions is critical,” says La Marque.
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