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Call for emphasis on drought relief

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“To date the government has failed dismally in providing adequate support to farmers”

A CALL has been made on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to bolster drought relief in the Northern Cape in his Budget speech today.

The DA’s Reinette Liebenberg yesterday called on Mboweni to give emphasis on the allocation of funds towards disaster management, considering the impact of the drought on the Province and the entire country.

“We are disappointed that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) gave little hope to the farming community in the Northern Cape. Although the president acknowledged the drought in several provinces, there was no mention of disaster funding or drought assistance for farmers,” Liebenberg said.

She pointed out that transformation in the agricultural sector was one of the driving principles of the economy in the Northern Cape. “To date the government has failed dismally in providing adequate support to farmers,” Liebenberg said.

“The DA would like to hear that the process of extending the disaster period will be extended and that the Northern Cape government will be able to provide farmers with animal feed.”

According to Liebenberg, the recently declared “drought funding” of R218 million, to predominantly support dysfunctional municipalities with infrastructure, was “to the detriment of sustainable agriculture”.

“Now is the time for Mboweni to show his strength and determination to make decisions that benefit all economic driven sectors, especially the agricultural sector and to take the farmers back into his confidence by giving them back their dignity, their livelihood and their ability to actively contribute to the country’s food basket.”