Cele warns of further food price hikes as drought continues

2016-07-21 22:45
A drought-affected area in KwaZulu-Natal. (File, AFP)

A drought-affected area in KwaZulu-Natal. (File, AFP)

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Polokwane - Ongoing drought in South Africa has disrupted food production and threatens to push food prices up, agriculture deputy minister Bheki Cele said on Thursday.
 
He said recent rain has not helped improve water levels in the country’s dams and as a result farmers were unable to produce enough food to feed the country.
 
"There's been rain but not enough, especially for our dams. There are dams that have gone up a little bit," he said.

Cele said the drought, whose effects the country would feel for a long time, had forced South Africa to "prepare for the future". 
 
"The price of food, especially next year, is going to increase, especially the grain."
 
Cele appealed to households with borehole water to consider planting vegetables instead of grass to improve their food security.

Family hailed for growing food
 
Cele said this after re-visiting a family at Ga-Kibi, north-west of Polokwane, where a family with a borehole had earlier in the year been persuaded to plant vegetables.
 
In February Cele visited the family and found only green grass and no food growing in the impoverished family's yard.
 
Today, Cele and officials from the department of agriculture found the family harvesting crops from their backyard. He hailed the move as an example of fighting food shortages and hunger.
 
According to Cele, boreholes are being drilled in many parts of the country to avert a water shortage that is crippling the agriculture industry.
 
Markets have been disrupted and food prices have increased as a result of the drought at a time when planting for the maize and sorghum harvests was due to take place.
 
Food prices in the country have increased since the drought began ten months ago.
 
Local livestock farmers, who have also been hard hit by the drought, live in fear of losing their remaining livestock.

Read more on:    bheki cele  |  natural disasters  |  water  |  drought
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