An assessment by the organised agricultural union of KwaZulu-Natal, Kwanalu, has found that 55% of economic activities across the province were adversely affected, if not destroyed, by last week’s insurrectionist violence and subsequent chaos.
According to Kwanalu, at least 15% of the province’s towns suffered severe damage to their trade sectors.
Closer scrutiny is already revealing that 64% of KZN’s towns are buckling under severe food shortages.
A further 32% are experiencing mild food need.
Only 4% of the province’s settlements and towns are food secure, Kwanalu has found.
The organisation’s executive head, Sandy la Marque, has said that the closure of the country’s main supply-chain artery, the N3, has had a devastating impact on farmers, agricultural concerns, and the wider food-production value chain.
She emphasised that just in terms of milk, 25% of the country’s consumption of this dairy product came out of KZN.
While damage assessments and related cost calculations from last week’s violence and destruction are still pouring in, La Marque pointed out that the closure of distribution centres and the impact on packaging, including restrictions on feed and compost transportation, had dealt a huge blow to economic and agricultural operations across the province.
She said it was comforting to see people from all sectors of their communities standing together to protect what they could, succeeding in holding back the devastation in certain places.
However, La Marque stressed that the agricultural sector was already buckling under the pressure of Covid-19 and could not absorb the additional havoc that the mayhem had wrought on the sector.