The cropping drought has put a great deal of pressure on the livelihood of many South African farmers. Isuzu, non-profit organisation Farmers Assist South Africa and truck dealer Motus Isuzu Isando have been working together to reduce the impact of the drought on farmers.
Fodder and food were delivered to farmers in Tolwe in Limpopo Province and Vanwyksvlei in the Northern Cape in October, and last weekend the third load of fodder, food and farming essentials was delivered to Merweville in the Western Cape.
Motus Isuzu Isando franchise MD Le Roux Roux understands the plight of the agricultural sector only too well and believes that if farmers cannot produce, the country will be in trouble.
“The farmers are in dire need – they have no money for food or to even send their children to school. While Mpumalanga and the Free State received good rain, and the farmers expect a good harvest, other farmers in the north of Limpopo had to slaughter their game animals because of the drought conditions and there is also a big ongoing need in the Northern and Eastern Cape provinces,” Roux says.
The dealership supports Farmers Assist SA with two new FVZ 1400 trucks, two drivers and fuel. The trucks, to be used on an ongoing basis to supply feed to drought-stricken areas, are customised with major drop sides and higher sides to enable the transport of additional loads.
The Central Karoo in particular has been struggling through the drought for the past seven years. With no rain, no feed, the reduction of livestock to be able to continue, and financial and emotional woes, farmers are at the end of their tether.
Clem Olivier, secretary of the local Agricultural Union, believes the veld will take four to seven years to regenerate should the area receive consistent rain during summer, the district’s rainfall season. Charles Muller, who has been farming in Merweville for 46 years, says: “The feed is expensive and due to our remote location the delivery costs are extremely high.
These donations that we are receiving are worth gold.” South Africans have also responded with grocery donations, among other things, and while there have been generous fodder donations, Ronel Steenkamp, founder of Farmers Assist SA, says the biggest concern for the organisation was being able to buy fuel to get the donations to the farmers.
“Some farmers can’t even pick up the feed due to a lack of funds for fuel. We need all the support we can get. We thank Isuzu Motors South Africa and Motus Isuzu Isando for walking the mile with us; for being are with us for the long run,” Steenkamp says.
Isuzu corporate communications manager Gishma Johnson says “finding the right partners to get the job done is so important and demonstrated just how much can be accomplished when you work together”.
She says Farmers Assist SA had approached Isuzu for assistance earlier in 2020. “We reached out to our dealer network to garner support and are very pleased that Motus Isuzu Isando stepped up to this.”