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Helpline set up for farmers

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It’s estimated that the drought has led to more than 62 000 job losses within various parts of the agricultural production chain

Picture: Supplied

WITH the ongoing drought having a huge impact on the psychological well-being of farmers, their families, farm workers and the farming community, Caritas Community Focus has set up a 24-hour helpline to provide assistance.

Este Botha from Caritas Therapy Centre said yesterday that the emergency number – 083 415 1484 – had been established as part of the dought-help initiative launched in the Province.

“The number is for farmers, their families as well as workers on the farms and the farming community in general, who need either a sympathetic ear or advice regarding practical solutions, like referrals to psychologists or hospitals.”

Botha said the centre had launched the initiative after it had received several requests to assist the farming community, including the children of farmers, who were concerned about their parents.

According to Agri Northern Cape, the ongoing drought in the Province has severely affected the community and local economy.

It’s estimated that the drought has led to more than 62 000 job losses within various parts of the agricultural production chain.

Agri Northern Cape’s Willem Symington says the drought has had a major psychological impact on farmers and had caused distress for all residents in the region.

“There has been a significant reduction in stock numbers in the Northern Cape,” Symington added.

“Our communities are under severe stress. All of the local economies in the Northern Cape are based on agriculture. When agriculture suffers, everybody suffers.”

According to Agri NC, the widespread drought had already reduced livestock in the Province by as much as 50%, with more than 100 000 farms feeling the pinch.

It has been reported that livestock and wildlife have died in large numbers and in the Vanwyksvlei area alone, 12 farms had been closed.

The drought is said to be the worst in 50 years and 80% of the Province has been affected.

While government has set R30 million aside for drought relief, and South Africans are supplementing this with donations of their own, a total of R688 million is needed over the next three months.