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Plan in place for R30m drought relief

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“The Namakwa region has finalised consolidating its list and other areas are still busy with the registration process, which will be wrapped up by Friday"

FODDER: The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation has announced the implementation plans for the R30 million drought relief awarded to the Province. Picture: Danie van der Lith

THE NORTHERN Cape Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation has announced the implementation plans for the R30 million drought relief awarded to the Province.

Deputy President David Mabuza earlier this month announced that R30 million in drought relief should be “immediately” made available to affected farmers in the Northern Cape.

The MEC for the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, Rural Development, Environment and Nature Conservation, Nomandla Bloem, said yesterday that an implementation plan outlining how the funds would be spent was approved on October 11 and shared with organised agriculture.

“The plan has three key focus areas, which are the direct purchase of fodder from co-ops and projects that currently have stock, the planting of maize in the Richtersveld and Khai-Ma regions, the transportation of donated fodder and fodder from the fodder bank and finally the expansion of the fodder bank,” Bloem said yesterday.

She stated that a critical part of the implementation process was updating the farmer register, adding that the process started on October 14, 2019.

“The Namakwa region has finalised consolidating its list and other areas are still busy with the registration process, which will be wrapped up by Friday. It must be noted that the department is starting with the hardest-hit areas in the Namakwa district and the transitional areas in Kareeberg and Kai! Garib local municipalities on Monday (October 28). We will reach other areas by the end of October and during November. Vouchers will be issued from Monday in Namakwa, followed by ZF and Pixley and farmers will be able to fetch their fodder next week ,” Bloem said.

The department has released 400 bales (160 tons or 9 interlinks) from the fodder bank for immediate intervention with the assistance of organised agriculture.

The distribution of the funds per district are as follows:
Namakwa – R11 million,
Pixley Ka Seme – R3.5 million, Frances Baard – R3 million,

John Taolo Gaetsewe – R5 million, and ZF Mgcawu – R3 million.

The drought situation in the Northern Cape was highlighted in the Early Warning report of May 2019, in that the absence of late summer rains in 2019 as well as the lack of significant rain in the early winter period was exacerbated by higher than average temperatures. This led to a significant shift in farm portions which were classified as dry during May 2019, to extremely dry in July 2019.

The magnitude of this drought affects all five districts and it has been recommended that all districts of the Province be declared as disaster areas and that the drought be classified as a drought disaster Province.