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MERWEVILLE – The drought in South Africa has threatened the livelihood of many farmers. Isuzu, in partnership with non-profit organisation, Farmers Assist South Africa and truck dealer Motus Isuzu Isando, have worked together to reduce the impact of the drought on farmers.
To this end the third load of fodder, food and farming essentials have been delivered last weekend in Merweville in the Western Cape. Earlier this month fodder and food were delivered to farmers in Tolwe in Limpopo Province and Vanwyksvlei in the Northern Cape.
Motus Isuzu Isando Franchise Managing Director, Le Roux Roux, is well acquainted with the plight of the agricultural sector 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,” said Roux.
The dealership supports Farmers Assist SA with two brand-new FVZ 1400 trucks, two drivers, and fuel. The trucks, which will 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 specifically has been gripped by dire circumstances for the past seven years.
With no rain, no feed, the reduction of livestock to be able to continue and several financial and emotional woes, farmers are at their wits’ ends. According to Clem Olivier, the secretary of the local Agricultural Union the veld will take between four and seven years to regenerate should the area receive consistent rain during the summer, the district’s rainfall season.
“We are trying to survive the worst drought ever. There’s no more natural vegetation left on the farm, we are dependent on these fodder donations. 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,” said Charles Muller, who has been a farmer in Merweville for the past 46 years.
South Africans have also responded with grocery donations amongst other things, and while there have been generous fodder donations, Ronel Steenkamp, founder of Farmers Assist SA, said that the biggest concern for the organisation at the moment was being able to purchase 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,” said Steenkamp.
Gishma Johnson, Isuzu Corporate Communications Manager said that one of the company’s corporate social responsibility objectives is to help communities in crisis. “Finding the right partners to get the job done is so important and demonstrated just how much can be accomplished when you work together. When farmers Assist SA approached Isuzu for assistance earlier this year, we reached out to our dealer network to garner support and are very pleased that Motus Isuzu Isando stepped up to this.”