"It is clear that this latest tragedy could be the final death knell for hundreds of cane growers and the rural livelihoods they support," SA Canegrowers CEO Funke said.
Cane farmers in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Province have lost infrastructure and crops worth US$ 14.7 million as a result of the recent heavy rains.
Over 300 farmers experienced extensive crop and root damage to 2,516.65 hectares of cane, therefore requiring total replanting of these fields to bring them back into production.
"This damage comes to an estimated US$12,9 million. Farm infrastructure to the value of US$1.8 has also been destroyed," said SA Canegrowers CEO Thomas Funke.
"Many local roads and bridges were also washed away, which are not only the main transport nodes to mills but also the access routes for farm inputs and workers," he added, pointing out that his organization has sent the preliminary cost of damage to the government of President Cyril Ramaphosa, requesting urgent financial and infrastructure relief.
This is what #climatechange looks like in one of South Africa’s tourism hotspots. Sadly, so far 59 people lost their lives in these floods. Countless lost their homes and livelihoods. All the while, SA government wants to build more coal, gas and oil energy. #ClimateActionNow pic.twitter.com/UCjQO7x175— Extinction Rebellion Cape Town (@CtxRebellion) April 13, 2022
"This catastrophic damage comes just as many cane growers had started recovering from the riots and arson attacks that took place in July last year, which saw 554,000 tons of cane being burnt and US$5.5 million in losses," Funke recalled.
"It is clear that this latest tragedy could be the final death knell for hundreds of cane growers and the rural livelihoods they support. In particular, small-scale growers are most at risk of not recovering from losses of this magnitude," he added, stressing that SA Canegrowers support over one million livelihoods in rural communities.
South Africa experienced floods last week. KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala said on Wednesday that 448 people are reported to have passed away. Some people are still missing and others are being accommodated in temporary shelters.