ICYMI: Livestock theft is economic sabotage, says FSA

Free State Agriculture is concerned that the stock theft unit is not doing all it can to prevent the "economic sabotage" that it believes stems from the impact stealing livestock has on the province's agricultural sector. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Free State Agriculture is concerned that the stock theft unit is not doing all it can to prevent the "economic sabotage" that livestock theft equates to for the farming sector. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Stock theft and veld fires are a continued headache for farmers in Mzansi. Here’s a quick rundown of yesterday’s agricultural news, in case you missed it. 

‘Stock theft is economic sabotage’

Free State Agriculture (FSA) and the Red Meat Producers Organisation (RPO) said this week that the shortcomings in the livestock theft unit (FSU) of the South African Police Service (SAPS) should be addressed as the ongoing problem can be regarded as “economic sabotage” of the province’s agricultural sector.

Jakkals le Roux, chairman of FSA’s rural safety committee, has expressed his concern that stock theft is not considered a priority by the police.

“For farmers, this situation leads to economic ruin, which seriously undermines the agricultural sector. It’s not to mention the impact it has on emerging and subsistence farmers”, says Le Roux.

According to Le Roux and Isabel Kruger, chairman of the livestock theft prevention forum in the Free State, the “astronomical shortages of resources are increasing”.

“Due to the shortages, crime scenes are not effectively investigated and detectives sometimes show up days after a case has been reported. This then contributes to the fact that many of these stock theft incidents are not reported,” they say.

According to reports, several farming communities have claimed losses of up to R10 million each year. Due to a rise in stock theft, areas of the Free State such as Brandfort, Ladybrand, Heilbron and Fouriesburg are currently under much stress.

According to Dr Jane Buys, safety risk analyst at FSA, communities along the border with Lesotho in particular are experiencing a significant surge in property-related crime.

Northern Cape veld fires spiral out of control

The Northern Cape departments of agriculture, environmental affairs, land reform and rural development, corporate governance, human settlements and traditional affairs are warning road users and the general public to be cautious when traveling on the N12 road between Ritchie and Hopetown, as veld fires are out of hand.

Changes in strong winds, from a northerly to westerly direction, have worsened the fires, causing large-scale spread along extended fire fronts on Tuesday afternoon.

The Frances Baard district municipality sent out a disaster management team to fight the fire.

“So far, more than 43 000 hectares of land (including grazing) is reported to have been destroyed by the fire over a large area and local landowners described the fires as totally out of control,” the departments say in a joint statement.

“The provincial government will continually assess the damages caused by the fire and in the interim release emergency fodder from its fodder bank to assist affected farmers to feed their livestock.”

Western Cape to vaccinate 70 000 pets against rabies

Veterinary services of the Western Cape department of agriculture hopes to vaccinate 70 000 pets this year. As a result, it will conduct frequent rabies vaccination campaigns in communities throughout the Western Cape who lack convenient access to veterinary services.

Farmers’ education days and school discussions are two other projects.

Veterinary officials hold regular farmer education days where they focus on diseases, difficulties that farmers should be aware of and how to avoid them. Simultaneously, school discussions with students focus on dog behaviour, dog bite prevention and rabies prevention in their pets.

“We do so because we believe that the health of animals is vital to safeguarding people’s health and preventing disease outbreaks or transmission,” the department says.

For more information on the services offered by the Western Cape’s Veterinary Services, visit https://www.elsenburg.com/services-and-programmes/veterinary-services

ALSO READ: This week’s agri events: 27 September – 3 October

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