Loadshedding a ‘devestating blow’ to EC farmers – DA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has levelled heavy criticism at Eskom following the bout of loadshedding at the weekend.

SA shadow MEC for rural development and agrarian reform Retief Odendaal said the power outages were “another devestating blow” to farmers in the Eastern Cape.

“Some Eastern Cape farmers have already had their water allocations severely cut by the department of water affairs [sic], while others have also had to ration their own water supplies due to the unprecedented drought conditions that have prevailed across the province for years,” Odendaal said.

“Farmers ordinarily are allocated specific times that they are allowed to draw water. If this period falls during loadshedding, they cannot use their electric water pumps or irrigation systems and that water allocation is lost.”

Odendaal said that this caused significant disruption to necessary farming activities such as irrigation and watering of livestock, which, in turn placed strain on the province’s food security. He called on Eskom to explore methods that could help minimise the impact of loadshedding on the agricultural industry.

“Agriculture remains one of our most important economic drivers in the Eastern Cape. The government must do everything in its ability to ensure that it provides our farmers with an enabling environment so that they can prosper and deliver on their mandate of providing food security to our growing nation,” said Odendaal.

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