Agri Western Cape thanks dept for extra R23m in drought relief

2016-03-31 14:33

Cape Town – Agri Western Cape welcomed an additional R23m in drought relief announced by Agriculture MEC Alan Winde on Thursday.

In a statement, Agri Western Cape Chief Executive Officer Carl Opperman commended the department, saying it was doing "an excellent job at utilising available funds optimally".

"The Western Cape receives no drought assistance from the national government, despite the fact that the West Coast region and Central Karoo had been declared drought disaster areas. The additional money will go a long way in supporting both emerging and commercial farmers in the province," Opperman said.

He also called on the national government to have the Western Cape declared a drought disaster area.

Opperman said that despite donations made by Agri Western Cape, fodder was still the immediate need.

"Thanks to generous donations to Agri Western Cape’s Drought Relief Fund, feed is still being distributed to areas where grazing has already dried up in November last year. Available feed and transport are expensive and [we] thank all individuals and companies that made contributions to date.

"Although large parts of the province received some rain over the past few days, the vigour of grazing land has suffered and it is critical to get feed to those areas. Producers of winter grains also need more rain in order to start planting by the middle of April."

Opperman said the department's Smart Agri plan to manage climate change - an initiative that Agri Western Cape is part of - would benefit agriculture in the Western Cape.

"Although Western Cape producers [experienced] a period of extreme heat and drought, they are grateful for the rain of the past few days and remain positive about the production season," he said.

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