Drought worsens as N West awaits relief

2013-06-06 19:22
(Picture: AFP)

(Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - The North West is still awaiting feedback on a drought relief fund request, Premier Thandi Modise said on Thursday.

"We are confident that our request will be favourably considered as there is appreciation that food security might be affected if there is no intervention, as we are the food basket for the country," she said in a statement.

She said the province estimated in April that R37.2m was needed for fodder, to mitigate the effects of drought on livestock in the province.

Worsening conditions, however, dictated that more should be considered as crops were also affected.

The national department of agriculture, the national disaster management centre and National Treasury had been identified as possible funders.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that farmers in the central part of the province had suffered damage amounting to almost R2bn.

In the western part, farmers were even worse off, Agri North West CEO Boeta du Toit was quoted as saying.

"As the harvest comes in, it's becoming obvious that our farmers are even worse off than we previously thought. In the central part of the province, farmers have lost more than 50% of their maize crop.”

Lower prices

Du Toit said damage to the province's sunflower crop was about the same.

In the western parts, many livestock farmers had been forced to sell their herds at lower prices.

"In addition to the situation with poor or no crops, farmers' input costs over the past year increased by 19%, not including the more than 50% increase in the minimum wages of farm workers.

"Most towns in rural areas depend on agriculture. It's the largest generator of jobs in those areas," he said.

The provincial government said it had provided emergency fodder to 6 553 farmers in the Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati and Ngaka Modiri Molema districts, at a cost of R7.2m, during the third quarter of the past financial year.

The two districts were reportedly the hardest hit as the province had experienced below normal rainfall for the past 12 months.

The levels of nine dams ranged from moderately dry to extremely dry.

Read more on:    thandi modise  |  mahikeng  |  weather  |  drought

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