The impact of fires on rural communities

Agri Western Cape
13 January 2017
The Western Cape’s agricultural sector is still suffering from the drought and critical water shortages and Agri Western Cape still offers drought assistance to producers in the drought disaster areas. The devastating fires raging in the Western and Southern Cape since the end of 2016 are putting the sector under further pressure and damages have already been caused to hundreds of hectares of agricultural land. The fires make one wonder if reckless people, or people who want to cause harm, understand the impact of their actions on the rural area and the economy. There has already been a tragic loss of life when a 14-year-old boy from Caledon died in a wildfire shortly before Christmas. Hundreds more lives were put in danger. A family lost their home and all their possessions and workers’ livelihoods on farms where fires have caused great damage may be threatened. Millions of rands of vineyards, orchards and agricultural infrastructure were destroyed, putting economic sustainability under pressure and causing a ripple effect on the total community. The Western Cape disaster management teams deserve credit for the efficient manner in which the firefighting efforts were coordinated. Agri Western Cape also want to thank our producers who helped to bring fires under control despite total exhaustion. It is every citizen’s duty to ensure that its environmental and food sources are preserved and Agri Western Cape requests that any threat thereof be communicated to the authorities immediately.