Farmers in Northern Cape worried about foot and mouth disease outbreak

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Northern Cape’s under-resourced farmers, who are recovering from the drought, are now gearing up for another fight following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

They marked Farmer’s Day with uncertainty hanging over their heads.

The farmer’s organisation, Saamtrek Saamwerk who organised the event, used the day to also lambast commercial farmers who are hiring undocumented immigrants.

Saamtrek Saamwerk says the act puts the sector in a bad light.

Kimberley’s under-resourced farmers say the odds are stacked against them and they are battling to stay afloat.

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The statement follows years of crippling drought and some government legislations.

Those with employees say they want government to exempt them from paying the minimum wage.

They say the current outbreak of foot and mouth disease will affect them negatively.

Saamtrek Saamwerk Chairperson Sehularo Sehularo says: “We are very worried because you’ll remember that farmers are buying cattle or livestock from different auctions. So the travelling of animals, is really at risk for us but fortunately, in our area, we have not yet experienced foot and mouth disease.”

Meanwhile, stock theft remains a nightmare for struggling farmers.

Livestock farmer Khumo Motlhale says: “In December I encountered stock theft where nine sheep were stolen. And I went to buy other sheep again; they took the whole 12 again.”

 The outbreak of foot and mouth disease also affects farmers in the North West.

Farmers have been asked to remain on high alert. State veterinary officials have increased surveillance in affected areas.