Multi-award-winning potato farmer Nonhlanhla Joye is struggling to recover after she had to watch 30 hectares of potato fields get flooded in water. The severe flooding in eastern KwaZulu-Natal three months ago, dealt her a heavy financial blow.
"At first it was surreal," says Nonhlanhla Joye, potato farmer and CEO of Umgibe Farming Organics. "I was looking forward to the harvest day but all of a sudden it was a dam of water."
Heavy rains pelted down from 11 to 13 April in what many have called South Africa's deadliest storm on record. It claimed the lives of more than 400 people, destroyed 12 000 houses and displaced over 40 000 people. It also destroyed all 30 hectares of potatoes that Joye and her team had planted in Ixopo, a town situated on a tributary of the Mkhomazi River in the midlands.
She was three weeks away from harvesting the potatoes for which she already had a buyer. Frimax Foods, a potato chips manufacturer, had a signed offtake agreement with Umgibe Farming Organics.
Umgibe Farming Organics has not yet been able to recover from the devastation despite receiving seeds to restart production.