R30m to assist drought-hit Free State farmers - MEC

2015-11-18 13:02
(Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

(Mujahid Safodien, AFP)

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Bloemfontein – The MEC for Free State Agriculture Oupa Khoabane told News24 on Wednesday his department has committed R30m to assist emerging farmers affected by drought in the province.

Khoabane said the relief campaign was put in place to ease the aftermath created by the drought.   

“Drought is a natural disaster, and we are reacting to it. We will be assisting emerging farmers because they are the ones mostly hit by drought, the money will be used to buy animal food, medication and also water,” he said.  

However, Khoabane said the department will need an extra R22m to drill boreholes for farmers throughout the province.  

On Monday, Khoabane handed over 300 bags of feed and Lucerne bales to farmers at Delpotrus farm in Welkom.  

“Today we are going to Cornelia in the north of Free State to try and help out, this is the place that the premier declared as an Agri village. We will also visit other farms as well.”

He said that an assessment conducted by his department has found that in the Free State about 3 655 farmers from subsistence and smallholder sectors have been seriously affected by the drought.

The drought in the country is the worst in 23 years and is the first one being experienced in this part of the country, he said.  

“Farmers are losing livestock because there is no grazing and water - and if we do not help, then we will be in trouble because people won’t have food and we don’t want to depend on other nations for food.”

Free State has since been declared a drought disaster area, along with other provinces.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  weather  |  drought  |  natural disasters

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