September 13, 2022

Road closures in flood-ravaged KZN strain agriculture sector — Union

The export of agricultural products and imports of agricultural products have been significantly affected by recent extreme weather conditions in KwaZulu-Natal, the KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) said on Friday.

The union said major infrastructure damage caused by heavy rains and flooding is likely to have long-term ramifications for the agricultural sector.

“We are aware of reports from the Midlands and the coastal regions, north and south, which appear to be the most affected. However, the reports keep coming in. With the severe devastation of infrastructure, and in particular the roads and bridges around the port, the passage of goods and services is very restricted.

“Access to relevant drop-off and collection points for agricultural products and supplies that are time-sensitive will have a direct impact on the sector,” said Sandy La Marque, CEO of Kwanalu.

She said that without good infrastructure and basic service delivery, the impact will continue to be severe, stifling growth, jobs, investment and export opportunities.

“This most recent disaster to hit KwaZulu-Natal continues to demonstrate how fragile the agricultural sector is and the importance of preventative measures, maintenance, identified and prioritized economic nodes and corridors.

“These economic corridors are found throughout the province in terms of agricultural production and food security,” said La Marque.

She said the urgency to act to make repairs and maintenance of the province’s infrastructure a priority has become even more relevant for the agricultural sector.

“It is essential that high-level multi-stakeholder processes are undertaken to ensure food security and employment and that goods and services can flow across the province. Kwanalu will be at the forefront of these issues and seek solutions from the local to the national level. The requirement of the government and the municipalities in all the solutions is essential.

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