Flood damage to KZN farms estimated to cost billions of rands

Farmers in some parts of the province are reeling at the loss of infrastructure, crops and livestock due to severe rains.

On Shazini Farm, farmers lost a bridge that connected their properties due to flooding. Picture: Nhlanhla Mabaso/EWN.

SHAZINI FARM - The Agriculture Department in KwaZulu-Natal says the cost of damage to farms affected by severe weather conditions and flash flooding in the province is estimated at billions of rands.

Farmers in some parts of the province have been left reeling at the loss of infrastructure, crops and livestock due to severe rains.

Some have had to down tools as the disaster affected their operations.

The department conducted an oversight visit to Shazini Farm outside Pietermaritzburg on Thursday to assess the situation.

Anyone entering Shazini Farm was forced to leave their car near the gate, which was a kilometre away from the main entrance.

This was because the bridge which connects to the home was swept away by heavy rains.

Farm owner Gugu Mthembu said this had cost her business.

“I had a contract with Vuna Seeds to plant 10 hectares of maize seeds. Now, that 10 hectares that they were counting on us is not going to happen because of all these floods,” Mthembu said.

The damage may cost billions of rands to fix.

“We are looking at about R50 million to try and mitigate the situation at the moment. For sugarcane, it’s a huge amount we’re looking at, it was almost R2 billion,” said Agriculture MEC Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi.

While other farmers hoped the Agriculture Department would alleviate some of their concerns, some hoped that other government departments would also assist them.