A KwaZulu-Natal farmer has lost more than half his crops following a freak hailstorm. A severe heat-induced thunderstorm and egg-sized-hail hit parts of the province earlier this week.
Thabani Bhengu, farmer and owner of Ndela Farming in Mooi River outside, says he had to watch in disbelief when the hail struck his farm. Thousands of crops were destroyed just days before harvesting was set to begin.
“I lost about 80 000 bunches of spinach and lettuce. [Most] of my cabbages (about 120 heads) are safe, though. It’s only the spinach and lettuce [that was damaged].”
What’s worse, Bhengu tells For Mzansi, is the fact that he already had offset agreements in place for his produce. “It’s a massive loss but such is the life of a farmer.”
Ndela Farming supplies market such as Oxford Fresh Market, Food Lover’s Market and Spar.
“I’ll supply them cabbage next week while waiting for my spinach and lettuce [production] to recover. I’m clearing up the fields, [and] I’m going to put fertiliser. [Within] two weeks, I will bounce back.”
This is not Bhengu’s first setback due to severe weather changes. Food For Mzansi previously reported how he lost both crops and livestock before. “It isn’t easy for a small-scale farmer to make a comeback after suffering such a loss. But in life there will always be hiccups, and agriculture is no different.”
Scattered thunderstorms are expected in various of KwaZulu-Natal this weekend.
Independent meteorologist and disaster risk reduction specialist Dr Angelo Hoorn, who runs the Severe Weather and Information Centre (Swaicsa) Facebook group, told The Witness that Tuesday’s severe weather affected mostly the southern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
He said large hail of up to seven centimetres in diameter was reported.
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