Agricultural industry association Agri SA has called for assistance in meeting the response to its Project Hope Grass drought relief programme.
The association has called for companies and volunteers to help it cope with the surge in calls to the project’s contact number, as well as to donate funds to process grass into feed pellets for livestock, explained Agri SA deputy executive director Christo van der Rheede on Monday.
Project Hope Grass sought donations of clean grass trimmings that were processed into animal feed pellets, which were distributed to distressed farms and drought-stricken regions.
“The project is a community-based initiative that supplements our peer-to-peer grass donation project in which farmers donate grass to other farmers.
“Any company, organisation, church and municipality can get involved. The typical process involves designating a field where community members, organisations, schools, municipal departments and businesses can drop off the grass that is then taken and processed.”
Van der Rheede said the response had been overwhelming, but cautioned that the most severe impact of the current drought was likely to occur towards the drier winter months.
“While we welcome donations of clean grass, without dog faeces or other contaminants, we do need larger companies to donate funds to the Agri SA drought relief fund to enable us to process the grass. We would also appreciate donations of call centre capacity or services during this initial response period,” he added.
Further, Agri SA is also calling for donations of long-life groceries that would be distributed to farm workers and farmers in areas where there was a lack of food owing to the drought.
The association was also, in a partnership with retailer Pick n Pay, establishing water tanks to make water available in drought-stricken areas.
“The winter months are likely to expose this as a greater crisis than it is currently viewed as, and the agricultural industry in affected areas needs all the help it can get,” he emphasised.
Interested parties could get more information on the project’s Facebook page, or contact Agri SA at 084 629 9674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, Agri SA noted that the agribusiness community had, to date, collected R1.88-million through its Drought Disaster Fund, with Senwes having donated R1-million. Ordinary South Africans and other businesses had also contributed.
Agri SA, which managed the fund, called on farmers in need to contact their nearest farmer union or Agri SA office to apply for assistance.