16.1.2020 09:41 pm
It was expected that 30% of commercial and emerging farmers in severely affected areas would not survive without ‘significant and meaningful assistance’.
Any desperate farmer on his or her knees will gratefully accept any assistance from the government, but the assistance being rolled out to the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform is far too little, far too late, says Agri-Eastern Cape.
Despite drilling boreholes and installing water tanks, the organisation said it was battling.
Agri-Northern Cape (Agri-NC) says it is looking forward to the help it will receive from the government to raise almost R688m for drought aid in the province.
There are 28 dams in total in Limpopo, none of which are 100% full.
The Gcuwa and all dams supplying Butterworth and surrounding areas are empty.
Taps ran dry months ago in surrounding villages, such as Ndabakazi and Kwezana, which are now depending on water tankers.
There are fears that the situation might worsen if heavy rainfall is not experienced soon.
All reservoir outflow valves will be throttled at night and will be opened again during the day when reservoirs have recovered to acceptable levels.
It is estimated that the crippling drought has led to more than 62,000 job losses in various parts of the agricultural production chain.
‘A financial drought’ is how it was described, with even the farmers whose farms don’t get attached not being able to get production credit from banks.
The department of water and sanitation has issued a dire warning … we need to start using water sparingly. If we don’t, Minister Lindiwe Sisulu’s dreaded ‘day zero phenomenon’ is a stark reality.
‘How do you diversify without water? My farm looks like a gravel road right now,’ said Oudtshoorn farmer Laubscher Coetzee.
Drought-stricken farmers around the country are pleading for help as conditions threaten the nation’s food supply and their very survival.
Residents have been warned to reduce the frequency of watering their gardens because the system is still vulnerable.
The 20th Waternet symposium on freshwater management heard that farmers simply ‘take every day as it comes’ or ‘rely on the Lord who sends the rain’.