Palapye — A hail storm hit Bonwakathako NAMPAAD farm near Palapye on November 8, leaving farmerscounting loses.
The hail storm destroyed the newly refurbished net shade at the farm, which was ready for tomato transplant.
Farm manager, Mr Golebaone Molefi said in an interview that the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security refurbished the net shade to the tune of P500 000.
He said the net shade was ready to be used for transplanting 0.25ha of tomato seedlings.
"We have suffered a serious setback as newly refurbished net shade and seedlings have been destroyed," he said.
In addition 0.25ha of butternut seedlings have been destroyed by the hail storm.
A young farmer who was funded through the Youth Development Fund, Mr Tefo Ntwayakgosi could not hide his frustrations after investing more than P90 000 in his horticulture production.
"I expected close to P100 000 from this produce and I am deeply saddened by the fact that I have no capital left to start afresh," he said.
Mr Ntwayakgosi who has employed two people does not know where to source funds to pay salaries of the two employees since this was his first production since he was funded.
After being funded, he was sent for training at Local Enterprise Authority to cultivate his horticulture skills in order to make his business more profitable.
Mr Ntwayagae planted half a hectare of cabbage, 0.25ha beetroots and 0.25ha of onions.
Kanlee Fruit and Vegetable farm which specialises mainly on tomatoes was also not an exception to this after losing close to a million pula of vegetable production to the hail storm.
The farm was left bare for some time after suffering a serious blow as a result of heavy downpours last year, as well as the tomato leaf minor, a pest that affected most tomato productions last year.
"This year, we decided to put more effort to make up for the lost production and the period we took without any production," farm manager, Ms Keikantsemang July said.
The hail storm which left her distraught destroying 37 tonnes of tomato, 20 tonnes of green pepper and 15 tonnes of water melons.
July who invested P45 000 into this production expected over P300 000 returns.
The farm contributed a lot in vegetable production in the central district, supplying Palapye and far places like Mahalapye, Serowe and Selebi Phikwe.
"We supplied SPAR and Shoppers supermarkets in these areas as well as hawkers.
The horticulture production was funded by CEDA to the tune of P405 000.
So far, July managed to re-pay only P130 000, adding "I don't know where I am going to source funds to pay my monthly instalment."
In addition to servicing the CEDA loan she is compelled to pay P10 000 per annum for leasing the farm she is operating in as well as pay salaries of the eight people she has employed.
She says the only thing she insured was the drip system appealing to the government for assistance as it was hard to avoid a disaster like this one.
Deputy district commissioner for Palapye, Mr Odiseng Moruti added that nine farmers at Bonwakathako NAMPAAD farm were affected.
He said the storm also affected some residential areas and shopping outlets in Palapye.
He said his office was not in a position to divulge the number of people affected and the extent of the disaster as assessments were still ongoing.
Source : BOPA