While the movement to Stop Farm Murders & Killings has rightfully gained increasing momentum across the country, there is another negative influence that is taking its toll on the farming community, namely, drought.
To this end, the warm heart of the trucking industry has once again been ignited with Isuzu Motors South Africa’s (IMSA) stepping up to the plate in responding to an initiative driven by Farmers Assist South Africa’s (Boerehulp Suid-Afrika) to provide aid to farmers and farming communities in areas which have been adversely affected by droughts.
The non-profit organisation’s aim is to transport critical fodder, farming essentials and food to these farms, thus ensuring on-going food security for the country.
Working closely with its dealers across the country, IMSA reached out to Motus Isuzu Isando in Johannesburg to request trucks for the transportation of fodder. This dealership has had a long history with farming communities and regularly supports similar initiatives.
Motus Isuzu Isando franchise managing director, Le Roux Roux, is well acquainted with the plight of the agricultural sector fully recognising that if farmers cannot produce, the country will be in trouble.
“The farmers are in dire need. They have no money for food or to even send their children to school. While Mpumalanga and the Free State received good rain and the farmers expect a good harvest, other farmers in the north of Limpopo had to slaughter their game animals because of the drought conditions and there is also a big on-going need in the Northern and Eastern Cape provinces,” says Roux.
The dealership has supported Farmers Assist with two new FVZ 1400 trucks customised with drop sides and higher sides to carry additional bales and feed. Two truck drivers as well as fuel for the trips have also been given.
One of the first trips the trucks will undertake is the delivery of fodder to Vanwyksvlei in the Northern Cape and Tolwe in Limpopo. “The trucks will be used on an on-going basis to move feed around for South African farmers who are in need,” says Roux.
Farmers Assist SA Founder, Ronel Steenkamp, says the situation – particularly in the Northern Cape – is critical, despite good rains experienced elsewhere in the country.
“One farmer had to slaughter her hand-reared lamb to be able to provide for her child to go back to university. It is heart-breaking to see how grateful farmers are for just a few bales of feed. They are fighting to keep their animals alive,” says Steenkamp.
The organisation is also looking for partners to assist with providing groceries to the farming communities in need, fuel for their bakkies to make the trips as well as any donations of fodder and feed.
“We are very grateful to the farmers who help each other in need, as well as to Isuzu for the incredible support and passion for the farming community of South Africa,” says Steenkamp.
According to IMSA Corporate Communications manager, Gishma Johnson, the company works closely with its dealers across the country to ensure that an optimal community support footprint is in place.
“We recognise the devastating effects of the drought on the agricultural sector and we value the collaboration with Farmers Assist SA and Motus Isuzu Isando in supporting the sustainability of our farmers,” she says.
The Road Freight Association has a slogan: ‘Without Trucks, South Africa Stops.’ Well equally true is that ‘Without Farmers, South Africa Starves.’ FleetWatch salutes IMSA, Motus Isuzu Isando and Famers Assist SA on this fine initiative.