Extreme weather in KZN causes disruption to dairy supply chain

By: Food Focus on 24 January 2024

Following 6 weeks of heavy rains, severe thunder and lightning storms with torrential winds and hail in KwaZulu-Natal, dairy farmers and food service providers have been left to cope with aftermath of severe infrastructural damage to roads hindering logistics and operations.

David de Jager, CEO of Tip-Top Milk, SA’s leading milk logistics and testing company, says that the extensive damage to farm roads is making it difficult to reach farmers to collect their milk, resulting in a disruption to the supply chain.

“We’ve received many reports from farmers in the Harry Gwala, Mount Currie, Umgeni, Underberg and Mooi River Districts about the extreme weather conditions such as gale force winds, torrential rain, flooding and large hailstones. Our trucks are these farmers’ lifelines in timeous collection of their milk. If we are not able to access them due to extensive damage to farm and district roads, they are unable to make an income and are forced to dispose of their milk as cows need to be milked twice a day, every day,” said de Jager.

“Similarly, our processors have consumer demand to contend with and are unable to meet this demand if milk supply is interrupted. For many poverty-stricken communities, dairy is the main and only source of the nine essential nutrients that, children in particular, should have access to,” said de Jager.

Milk supply and demand are not the only issues farmers are dealing with following the extreme weather says de Jager.

“For some areas, the rains have been incessant for the past six weeks resulting in damage to dam spillways, water supply interruptions and centre pivots being blown over. Milking cows develop feet and hoof problems walking around in deep mud and mastitis thrives in these conditions. In addition, waterlogged crops and pastures result in reduced maize yields and grazing, directly impacting feed supply in the coming months,” said de Jager.

“If road infrastructure in rural and agricultural areas is not attended to timeously, this will have a devastating impact on the dairy industry and food security, as well as on the economy,” said de Jager.

De Jager calls on urgent, united action from government, local municipalities, stakeholders and leadership in attending to these concerns.

Tip-Top Milk provides the Southern African dairy industry with milk logistic services and marketing of producers’ milk, while ensuring that the processes of collecting, sampling, testing, and delivering of this milk is timeous, safe and cost-effective for all.

 

For more information, visit www.tiptopfoodsgroup.co.za or follow Tip-Top Milk on Facebook, X or Instagram.