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Dept to roll out plan

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After the consolidation of the farmers’ list in the region, I can safely say that farmers in Namakwa will be receiving vouchers from Monday

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation announced yesterday that it was ready to roll out the Drought Implementation Plan.

This comes after the Deputy President, David Mabuza and Agriculture Minister, Thoko Didiza, visited the Province at the beginning of October to assess the level of drought recently.

During the visit, Mabuza announced that the Province would make R30 million available towards the Drought Relief Programme and agriculture’s regional offices were given the mandate to consolidate the list of farmers in distress.

“There was a slow start, where farmers were not coming up in the expected numbers to register – with most farmers not able to provide relevant supporting documentation. Through our regional offices, engagements were held with organised agriculture where the department’s officials pleaded with them to encourage their members to apply for the drought relief with the correct documentation,” MEC Nomandla Bloem said yesterday.

“I indicated upfront that, with the little that we have, all farmers in need would be assisted and we did exactly that,” Bloem added.

“I am glad to announce that we are now ready to roll out the programme in the Namakwa region. After the consolidation of the farmers’ list in the region, I can safely say that farmers in Namakwa will be receiving vouchers from Monday. We are hoping to roll out the programme in that area until November 29,” she said.

The applications are now closed for Namakwa.

Bloem indicated that the reason why some regions were still falling behind with regards to the implementation plan was due to the consolidation of farmers’ lists.

“We are hopeful that most of our farmers will be able to fulfil the requirements so that we can assist them.”

The closing date for the application for drought relief in Frances Baard, John Taolo Gaetsewe, Pixley Ka Seme and ZF Mgcawu is this Monday (November 18). The department will not accept any applications after the closing date.”

The following are requirements for drought relief application besides the application form: title deed or lease agreement or letter of occupancy, certified copy of ID and Brand Mark Certificate.

The following registered fodder and feeds are approved for drought relief: complete finishing pellets (50kg), maintenance pellets for ruminants (50kg) and lucerne and lucerne pellets (50kg).

The department has three fodder banks in the Province, which, it says, has managed to assist with fodder during drought.

“The drought situation in the Northern Cape was highlighted in the Early Warning Report of May 2019, that the absence of late summer rains this year was exacerbated by higher than average temperatures.

“The magnitude of this drought affects all five districts and it had been recommended that all districts of the Province be declared as disaster areas and that the Province be classified as a Drought Disaster Province,” department spokesperson, Zandisile Luphahla, said.