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Gift of the Givers raises alarm over drought-related farmer suicides

Gift of the Givers' Elizabeth Visagie says that a number of farmer suicides have been noted in recent months.

Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Gift of the Givers says that a Matjiesfontein farmer has committed suicide amid increasing pressure brought on by a drought in the Western Cape.

The Angora goat breeder died two weeks ago.

The relief organisation has called for urgent intervention to prevent further tragedies.

Gift of the Givers' Elizabeth Visagie says that a number of farmer suicides have been noted in recent months.

“Unfortunately, if you are faced with your own troubles as a farmer and you share the burden of your fellow farmers, you could snap. This is what’s happening within farming communities. People are under tremendous stress.”

She has called on South Africans to band together to assist small and large-scale farmers.

“There is very little rain. Government support has been lost in systems that don’t work.”

Northern Cape farmers have been relying on feed from KwaZulu-Natal to keep their animals alive.

But Visagie says that the situation is as dire in the Eastern and Western Cape provinces.

LISTEN: Finding solutions to SA’s water crisis

Gift of the Givers says that it is doing what it can to support drought-stricken farmers but more help is needed.

Visagie says the Northern Cape is in a dire state.

"It's a very dry area and they cannot function, animals can't eat. There's nothing if we don't take food."

She adds that food is being trucked in to assist farmers in trouble.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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