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Help on its way for drought-hit farmers

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A convoy of trucks and other vehicles will passed through Kimberley en route to Beaufort West to assist drought-stricken Northern Cape farmers.

A CONVOY of 26 trucks and 15 other vehicles passed through Kimberley en route to Beaufort West to assist drought-stricken Northern Cape farmers.

The founder of Boere Droogtehulp SA NPC, Chris van Beljon, said that the trucks would be travelling in convoy from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Queenstown and Rustenburg.

“Some of the drivers are sleeping in their trucks while others slept over in Kimberley on Thursday night. We are transporting between 800 and 1 000 tons of mielies, lucerne, fodder and dry pellets to 70 farmers in the Beaufort West region where they have been gripped in an unrelenting drought that has persisted over the past seven years. We assist any farmer in need,” said Van Beljon on Thursday.

He added that they would be stopping over in Kimberley at the Shell garage and Puma garage on Friday.

“We have received a number of donations from Kimberley including diesel.”

Van Beljon said that the trucks with heavy loads could only travel at a maximum speed of 60 kilometres per hour.

“The fodder has been covered in waterproof canvas to prevent it from becoming wet on the road. We are grateful for the rain and do not mind travelling an extra day on the roads to reach our destination.”

The Helping Hands project is also part of the convoy to Beaufort West, where they have agreed to provide bursaries for students residing in drought-stricken areas.

The head of the Helping Hands Study Trust, Stefan Pieterse, said that funding had been set aside to assist 20 students.

“The beneficiaries are from Kimberley, Kenhardt, Prieska and Douglas. They will be funded to study at any accredited tertiary institution for any degree or course. The trust decided to match the number of students that they would assist with the number of trucks that will be transporting drought assistance to farmers,” said Pieterse.

He added that applications were submitted online for the 2021 academic year.

“Although the closing date was September 30, prospective students are still welcome to apply. The criteria for selection is that students must come from households in drought-stricken areas.”