Tobacco farmers in South Africa are continuing to plant next year's crop, despite the difficulties Rhodesian farmers face because of the boycott introduced by many countries since the illegal declaration of independence.
African tobacco planters in the Potgietersrus area in the north Transvaal. Impoverished squatters at Lobatsi.
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Background: Tobacco farmers in South Africa are continuing to plant next year's crop, despite the difficulties Rhodesian farmers face because of the boycott introduced by many countries since the illegal declaration of independence. Some Rhodesian farmers had expected that at least part of the Rhodesian crop may have been sold to South Africa.
Tobacco is one of the largest non-food crops grown in the Republic of South Africa, with an annual production exceeding 50-million pounds weight.
Rhodesia, however, is a far larger tobacco producer, with production last year totalling more than 320-million pounds weight.
Africans are the traditional workers on South Africa's large and prosperous tobacco plantations. Scores may be employed on one farm during the few weeks of planting.
The ground must be carefully prepared for planting, and before placing the seedlings in position the holes are watered. The African labourers -- mainly women -- have developed a knack of covering the seedlings with earth over with their feet.
While farmers in South Africa look forward to a good tobacco harvest, people, in some areas of neighbouring Bechuanaland are facing famine in one of the worst droughts in the history of the protectorate.
The countryside is no longer able to support either humans or livestock, and many people have been forced to move from rural areas to the towns. The only homes they have are those they build themselves from whatever materials can be found.
The make-shift housing settlements are creating health problems -- the houses have no water or sewerage, and there is a serious risk of epidemic among people already affected by malnutrition. So far authorities have been unable to take action to stop the growth of the settlements of hovels.