Government has secured a further R32-million to assist farmers in drought stricken provinces.
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery, Senzeni Zokwana briefed the media after meeting MECs of affected provinces in Pretoria.
Earlier, government made available more than R200-million as a relief measure to crop and livestock farmers in a bid to deal with the persistent drought.
Drought has delayed ploughing, and led to thousands of livestock dying in some parts of the country. Government says it now has a clear picture of the negative impact caused by the drought.
Over 5000 livestock have reportedly died due to drought in Limpopo alone.
Minister Senzeni Zokwana says KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, North West, Limpopo, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and theNorthern Cape have already applied for drought relief loans.
He says a comprehensive plan has been designed to coordinate necessary relief to crop and livestock farmers of the affected provinces.
“Government departments, municipalities and entities are working together to provide livestock feed, rainwater tanks, cart water to farmers and livestock owners to help their livestock during the time of scarcity of grazing grass and water for hydration. MECs from affected provinces and the Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, will provide specific detail on the quantities delivered to farmers owners to support them.”
Zokwana says more efforts are needed to address the situation as it is now a threat to food security and could scale down jobs in the agricultural sector. This he said has prompted the country to consider buying maize outside the country.
Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwintini says his department has made available an amount of R187-million through the National Disaster system for drought relief.
“From my point of view as a department we have indicated that we have made available R187 million for drought relief through the system. That is why Minister Zokwana said we needed to improve our own coordination so that there is greater impact so we don't have a little bit of money here and a little bit of money there.”
MEC for Agriculture in Limpopo Joy Matshoge says all the five districts in that province have been affected, and plans have been devised to deal with the situation.
Zokwana said they need sufficient proof before government could declare a national disaster due to the ongoing drought.
“You cannot declare a disaster nationally unless it is guided by science, the act and that the municipalities declare processes are followed, yes this scourge is huge but it’s not gonna be right to say everywhere is the same, it is not the same.”
He urged the general society to use water sparingly in an effort to minimise the impact of the current drought situation.
For the full media briefing click on video below: