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KZN farmers assist Eastern Cape farmers affected by fires

Once again demonstrating the resilience and generosity KZN farmers are renowned for, a group of Umvoti farmers have reached out to their Eastern Cape counterparts affected by wild fires which caused devastation in the region last month.

Farmers and agri-businesses from Umvoti near Greytown have donated over 1 000 bales of animal feed to farmers from Thornhill in the Eastern Cape who are among those who suffered huge losses as a result of the recent wild fires that swept through parts of the Eastern and Western Cape, claiming lives, razing homes and devastating much of the land.

After hearing about the desperate plight of these fellow farmers, Umvoti farmer and chairman of the Umvoti Agricultural Society (UAS), Dean Brown, appealed to members for donations of animal feed.

“The swift and generous response received was overwhelming,” Brown said.

“Within a few hours, five truckloads of animal feed had been donated by three locally-based agricultural companies – Pidelta, Golden Grown and Moo2u. And within a couple of days, a further 15 truckloads of animal feed had been donated by local farmers including Sutton Farming, Barber Farming, CJ & DC Odendaal Farming, RBJ Farming, Steve Stamp, LA Hill, Gunter Kohne, Rueben Surrendorff and Lloyd Robertson,” he said.

The first two truckloads of feed left the Umvoti area at the end of June with the remaining truckloads to be delivered at intervals throughout July. Afgri Animal Feeds has also played a pivotal role in sponsoring the transport of the feed, along with Puttergill Farming, situated in Thornhill, which is the central point for delivery and distribution of the animal feed to those farmers in need.

“Farmers in Umvoti are known for their community spirit, especially during tough times, but the level of generosity and compassion our members have shown has blown me away and I couldn’t be more proud of the amazing spirit that this farming community has to offer,” Brown said.

In total, around 1 000 bales of feed have been donated by the Umvoti farmers. This should, according to Brown should see the Thornhill farmers through winter.

Thornhill farmer, Grant Puttergill, who is coordinating the distribution of the animal feed on behalf of the Thornhill Farmers’ Association expressed his heartfelt thanks for the donations.

“These fires have devastated the lives and livelihoods of our members. Some of us have lost everything. Our situation is desperate and there are no words to express how thankful we are to the farmers of the Umvoti area for extending the hand of kindness to us down here in the Eastern Cape. It is a rare example of how selfless people can be and for that, we are extremely grateful,” said Puttergill.

Sandy La Marque, CEO of KZN Agricultural Union, Kwanalu, said the union is proud of the efforts of its affiliate, the Umvoti Agricultural Society, and their members who are so willing to give in such tough times.

“The kindness shown by farmers in KZN to help those in need is never short of inspiring and we commend Umvoti farmers for going above and beyond to support their fellow farmers in a neighboring province,” said La Marque.