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NC farmers receive fodder

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“We have three fodder banks in the Province and there is a great deal to expand, so that when such needs arise we have plenty stored for our farmers.”

FARMERS affected by the ongoing drought in the Northern Cape yesterday started receiving much needed fodder for their starving animals.

The MEC for Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation, Nomandla Bloem, yesterday observed the loading and distribution of fodder to emerging farmers at Rietrivier Research Station near Ritchie.

A total of R60 000 worth of fodder was collected and distributed to farmers around the Ritchie area and mainly for Prieska in the Pixley ka Seme District.

This is part of the Drought Relief Implementation Plan which was announced by Bloem recently.

The tons of fodder that were distributed yesterday, from the department’s research station, forms part of the drought alleviation programme that the department has embarked on, to grow its own lucerne and mealies and store it in a fodder bank.

“We are happy that, apart from the R30 million which was set aside to assist with the alleviation of drought-stricken areas, we are able, from our reserves, to assist our farmers with fodder,” Bloem said.

“We have three fodder banks in the Province and there is a great deal to expand, so that when such needs arise we have plenty stored for our farmers.”

Bloem dispelled the notion that only black farmers would benefit from the drought relief programme.

“The drought relief will be distributed as per the need of our individual farmers. We will make sure that the little we have is shared equally as per the need,” she said.

Bloem called on farmers who have not received the relief to be patient and encouraged farm owners to contact their local district extension officers for registration. The roll-out will further continue to other affected regions beginning on Monday, October 28, in the Namakwa region.

“Working with organised agriculture, there are plans to send two interlink trucks to Van Zylsrus, two trucks to Postmasburg, Groenwater and Jane Haven, as well as one truck to Deben and Olifantshoek by Monday,” Bloem said.

The department has also organised two truck-loads of fodder to be collected by Kenhartd and Kleinbegin farmers.

“I need to emphasise that we are targeting those areas that are severely under pressure and identified together with organised agriculture in the Province,” Bloem concluded.