Deputy President David Mabuza says government has offered support to farmers who were affected by drought in the Free State, Northern Cape and the Eastern Cape.
“As government, we will not allow our agricultural sector to collapse because farmers are the lifeblood of our economy. That is why as part of our response to these challenges, we have set aside a package of financial assistance to affected farmers in various provinces.
“I am advised by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development that various provinces were assisted with drought relief funding.
“In this regard, the Free State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces are among the provinces that received drought relief funding during the last quarter of the 2018/19 financial year,” he said.
The Deputy President said this when responding to oral questions in the National Assembly on Thursday.
He had been asked what government had done in terms of drought relieve support for farmers in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State to ensure sustainable food security.
The support given to farmers in the three provinces does not amount to agricultural subsidies, but efforts to alleviate the negative impact that the drought may have had on farmers and the sustainability of the enterprises. This includes:
R20 million was allocated to the Eastern Cape, where the Sarah Baartman and Amathole Districts were supported with fodder which was distributed to farmers in need;
R13.5 million was allocated to the Free State where the Thabo Mofutsanyane District was supported with the refurbishment and equipping of boreholes as well as mitigating water challenges;
R43 million was allocated to the Northern Cape where the Namakwa and Pixley ka Seme Districts received fodder to support farmers in need;
R10 million was allocated to Limpopo where in Vhembe, Mopani, Capricorn, Sekhukhune, and Waterberg Districts, where farmers benefitted from the support which assisted them with boreholes and desilting of dams;
R10 million was allocated to Mpumalanga where Bohlabela, Ehlanzeni and Nkangala Districts were assisted with fodder, boreholes and desilting of dams. Many farmers benefitted from this support programme; and
R170 million was allocated to the Western Cape where in the Central Karoo District and parts of the Garden Route, West Coast and Overberg District, farmers received fodder.
“Both the Northern Cape and Eastern Cape Departments of Agriculture provided fodder to the affected farmers while the Free State Department of Agriculture is currently providing relief in terms of water infrastructure projects including boreholes and desilting of dams.
“The main focus was on subsistence and smallholder farmers, however, in provinces like the Western Cape and the Northern Cape all categories of farmers benefitted in the affected municipalities,” said the Deputy President.
Fodder and water infrastructure were used to support affected livestock in terms of feeding and drinking water. Some farmers have both livestock and crop and would use the water for irrigation as well.
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in collaboration with the provincial departments of agriculture also continuously disseminate early warning information and provide drought coping strategies. – SAnews.gov.za