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Kwanalu

The voice of agriculture . Die stem van landbou . Izwe lezokulima

Noodsaaklike agrisektor ’n prioriteit met Covid-19-inentings | Essential agri sector should be a Covid-19 vaccination priority

English to follow:

21 Junie 2021

Suid-Afrika, veral sekere provinsies soos Gauteng, die Vrystaat en ander, steier tans onder die derde vlaag Covid-19-infeksies. Die infeksiekoers het oral in Suid-Afrika teen ’n kommerwekkende tempo toegeneem, veral nou in die wintermaande.

“Die nasionale regering, wat verantwoordelik is vir die uitrol van die entstofprogram, het gesondheidswerkers, persone bo die ouderdom van 60, en meer onlangs onderwyspersoneel, geprioritiseer vir inenting, sonder om noodsaaklike werkers soos dié in die landbousektor in ag te neem,” sê Christo van der Rheede, uitvoerende direkteur van Agri SA.

Volgens Statistieke Suid-Afrika (Stats SA) staan die land se bevolking tans op 59,62 miljoen. Dit is die landbousektor se verantwoordelikheid om genoeg voedsel te produseer ten einde nasionale voedselsekerheid te handhaaf. “Die sektor het verlede jaar uitnemend daarin geslaag, en sal dit weer doen, aangesien ’n rekordoes vanjaar verwag word,” sê Andrea Campher, Agri SA se Risiko- en Rampbestuurder.

Boere en plaaswerkers, wat hoofsaaklik in landelike gebiede woon en meer kwesbaar vir die derde vlaag Covid-19-infeksies is, is verantwoordelik vir voedselproduksie ongeag hierdie blootstelling. “Aangesien hulle ’n kritieke rol in voedselsekerheid speel, doen Agri SA ’n beroep op die regering om hierdie sektor ook ingevolge die nasionale ontplooiing van die entstof te prioritiseer,” sê Van der Rheede.

Aandag moet ook gegee word aan die gebrek aan, en swak toestand van infrastruktuur, wat die uitrol van die entstof in hierdie gebiede kan kniehalter. “Agri SA is bekommerd dat, indien noodsaaklike werkers soos boere en plaaswerkers nie deur die regering geprioritiseer word nie, dit ’n nadelige uitwerking kan hê op die uitsonderlike bydrae van die sektor in terme van werkskepping, buitelandse valuta-verdienste en voedselsekerheid vir die land as geheel,” het Campher verder verduidelik.

Agri SA doen ’n beroep op die regering om die landbousektor se pleidooi te oorweeg om geprioritiseer te word en moedig ook boere en plaaswerkers oor die ouderdom van 60 aan om vir die entstof te registreer, ten einde lewensverlies as gevolg van die pandemie te verhoed.

Navrae:

Andrea Campher

Agri SA, Risiko- en Rampbestuurder

Christo van der Rheede

Agri SA, Uitvoerende Direkteur

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21 June 2021

South Africa, and in particular provinces such as Gauteng, Free State and others, are reeling under the third wave of Covid-19 infections. The infection rate has grown by an alarming rate throughout South Africa, especially now during the winter months.

“The national government, who is primarily responsible for the vaccination drive, has prioritised healthcare workers and those over the age of 60 and recently educational staff to be vaccinated, without considering critical essential workers such as the agricultural sector,” says Christo van der Rheede, executive director of Agri SA.

According to Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) South Africa’s population now stands at 59,62 million people. It is the duty of the agricultural sector to produce sufficient food to ensure national food security. “The sector has achieved this with sterling success last year and it will do so again this year as another bumper crop is expected,” says Andrea Campher, the Risk and Disaster Manager of Agri SA.

Farmers and farmworkers who mainly live in rural areas and who are most vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus are responsible for producing food regardless of the third wave of infections. “As they play a critical role in ensuring food security, Agri SA appeals to government to also prioritise the agricultural sector in terms of the national vaccination roll-out,” Van der Rheede urges.

Attention must also be paid to the lack of and poor state of infrastructure in rural areas that might constrain the efficient roll-out of the vaccination drive in these areas. “Agri SA is concerned that, should farmers and farmworkers who are in essence regarded as essential workers, not be prioritised by national government, it may jeopardise the massive contribution this sector is making in terms of job creation, earning foreign exchange and ensuring food security for all,” Campher further explained.

Agri SA calls on government to consider the appeal by the agricultural sector to be prioritised and also encourages farmers and farmworkers over the age of 60 to register for the vaccine to ensure that further lives are not lost due to this pandemic.

Enquiries:

Andrea Campher

Agri SA, Risk and Disaster Manager

Christo van der Rheede

Agri SA, Executive Director