The goal is to protect food security and the agricultural economy
The TRANSVAAL Agricultural Union (TAU) had compiled a document especially for farmers and their workers on how to deal with the Corona virus outbreak.
“The Corona virus has the potential to have an enormous negative impact. Decisions already taken hold far-reaching economic implications. It could have an even more significant impact on the sustainability of businesses, in future, including the agricultural sector,” Louis Meintjies, CEO of TAU, said in a statement. “In no way do we want to create the idea that we can ignore the situation and just carry on as normal. Things are not normal and we should act accordingly.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Thoko Didiza, on Monday, March 16, called an urgent meeting with all agriculture role players to discuss the way forward. A task team, consisting of the Agri Department and organised agriculture, was established. TAU SA serves on this task team. As decisions get taken, it would be communicated to the industry. During the ministerial meeting, the minister confirmed that auctions would continue for the time being to ensure the livestock industry doesn’t face any further financial losses after the Foot & Mouth Disease almost brought this sector to its knees earlier this year.
“The success of the government’s emergency measures depends on society’s willingness to implement it. Our members should take further steps to limit the possible damage of the Corona virus,” Meintjies said.
- Inform workers of the virus and how it spreads;
- Emphasise the importance of personal hygiene and ensure soap and water are available for them to properly wash their hands;
- Discuss the risks of socialising in big groups over weekends while there is still uncertainty over the momentum of its spread. Explain the benefits of voluntary isolation;
- Monitor the health of workers and their families;
- Do long-term planning of rations with a longer shelf life.
Access to farms
- Strictly apply the farm’s protocol for access to farms. Persons visiting a farm for whichever reason should wear face masks and properly clean themselves before continuing with the activities of the planned visit;
- Be alert of criminals abusing the Corona virus to get access to farms under false pretenses;
- Consider using farms as a type of quarantine area, granting only approved access.
- Uncertain circumstances can lead to a rise in incidents of crime. Crime increases when local economies come under pressure and there is a shortage of products on shelves;
- Take precautionary measures with protective gear such as face masks and gloves when interacting with criminals or making arrests.
“TLU SA will consider added measures as the situation unfolds. The main priority is to protect human lives,” Meintjies concluded.