Media24 has announced its support for the Drought Disaster Fund, which is administered by the country’s largest farmer’s union, AgriSA. The media house is calling for support from readers, advertisers and partners to support the relief effort.
Publications including Landbouweekblad, YOU, Huisgenoot, DRUM, Kuier, Move! and several of the group’s leading newspapers will be running campaigns continuously to drive support for the relief effort.
South Africa is one of only 10 countries in the world which is able to net export food but it’s facing one of the worst droughts in the country’s history. The result will be sky-rocketing food prices, a surge in unemployment, bankruptcies among farmers, a flood of urbanisation and possible food and water shortages.
“South Africans must act now if we are to save our farmlands. To date, only 30% of the traditional summer crops have been planted, including food staples such as white maize and vegetables. The third consecutive dry year in many parts of the country has lead to cataclysmic drought conditions and the price of maize meal and vegetables doubling in the past year,” the company said in a statement.
“Affordability of basic food is not the only problem – availability is also not guaranteed. The estimated seven million tons of maize that we may need to import if conditions persist cannot be distributed through current port and rail infrastructure. The food shortages come in the wake of World Health Organisation (WHO) findings that up to 53% of South African children under the age of six months already suffers from malnutrition. The misery that this crisis can unleash on millions of South Africans can simply not be over emphasised,” it said.
This drought affects all food sectors including livestock farming, as well as eggs and dairy, where the cost of feed makes up 60% of total cost. With feed prices already up 40% to 70% in the past year, the intensifying drought will only drive costs higher as animal feed becomes scarcer.
Tragedies are already playing out on farms across the country:
- Farmers are caving under debt as crops fail and livestock perishes
- 1000s of farm workers could lose their jobs
- An estimated 300 000 black subsistence farmers face losing everything
- 40 000 head of cattle have died in KZN aloneThe fate of our farmers lies in the hands of ordinary South Africans, private and corporate, and the farming organisations desperately trying to solicit help.
Here’s how you can help:
- SMS 42030 to donate R30
- Visit here to make a bigger contribution
- Follow the campaign in Landbouweekblad, YOU, Huisgenoot, DRUM, Kuier, Move! and several leading newspapers for further details
IMAGE: Wikimedia /Andy Beecroft. Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0
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