Agri SA launches water desk to ensure farmers get fair share of precious resource

The Gariep Dam. (Agri SA site)
The Gariep Dam. (Agri SA site)

Agricultural industry association Agri SA has launched a water desk that will be dedicated to helping farmers across the country get equitable access to water, it said on Friday.

Several policy proposals could increase the cost of water and reduce the amounts available to agricultural users, Agri SA said in a statement.

It said it was therefore crucial that engagement started early, so there could be a fair outcome.

ALSO READ: National disaster management donates R42m to Northern Cape farmers crippled by drought

Farmers were already dealing with several challenges that included severe drought and climate change, it added.

The association is made up of 23 commodity organisations (for agronomy, animal production and horticulture), nine provincial Agri SA organisations, corporate members and around 1 000 farmer associations.

The purpose of the water desk was to focus on policies and proposals, such as the draft National Water and Sanitation Master Plan and the National Water Resource Strategy.

'Fast-changing policy environment'

The desk would also give input on water research priorities and gather insight from top water experts.

Janse Rabie, an environmental lawyer who heads the association’s natural resources centre of excellence, will lead the desk alongside water scientist Gregory Smith.

"The Agri SA water desk will be a one-stop shop for Agri SA members, where they can get up-to-date information and advice on all things water related," said Rabie.

ALSO READ: Cape farmers lose 25% of orchards, vineyards as result of drought - expert

"Given the complexity of water rights and the fast-changing policy environment, we believe that a dedicated water desk is the best way to enable agricultural water users to stay abreast of all legal developments which will have an impact on the way they farm and do business."

Rabie previously said that many farmers in the Western Cape had to make do with almost none of their allocated water since January this year, because of nationally-imposed and strictly-enforced water restrictions.

He said this had led to hardships in the community, which included job losses for seasonal farm workers.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 7748 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 2258 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 9391 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.24
(-1.1)
GBP/ZAR
19.65
(-0.9)
EUR/ZAR
17.04
(-1.1)
AUD/ZAR
11.03
(-0.7)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(-0.9)
Gold
1,750.49
(+0.8)
Silver
25.64
(+0.9)
Platinum
1,193.50
(+1.7)
Brent Crude
66.58
(+4.6)
Palladium
2,742.00
(+2.3)
All Share
67,795
(-0.0)
Top 40
62,077
(-0.0)
Financial 15
12,297
(+1.1)
Industrial 25
88,644
(-0.2)
Resource 10
68,913
(-0.2)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo