R212m to support farmers in drought-stricken provinces

Pretoria - The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has allocated R212 million to assist provinces that have been severely affected by the drought.

The money is to be used for animal feed in seven provinces including the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape. These provinces have declared a provincial state of drought disaster, as South Africa battles the worst drought since 1992.

R29 million has been allocated to the Eastern Cape, Free State R31 million, KwaZulu-Natal R23 million, Limpopo R28 million, Mpumalanga R26 million, Northern Cape R25 million, North West R38 million and the Western Cape allocation is R12 million.

"The Western Cape has declared a local state of disaster in three municipalities - Central Karoo, Eden and the West Coast. Gauteng is the only province that has not yet declared a state of drought disaster," the department said in statement on Monday.

During the 2015/16 financial year, the national Department of Agriculture allocated R263 million towards drought relief through reprioritising the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP). Provincial Departments of Agriculture made R198 million available through their equitable share funding.

"These funds were utilised to assist affected farmers with animal feed and water reticulation for livestock. For the 2016/17 financial year, the department further requested for drought relief assistance from National Treasury through the National Disaster Management Centre," the department said.

While some parts of the country are experiencing some rain, the department noted that the country in its entirety is receiving below average rainfall compared to previous seasons due to the El Nino.

Most rivers are not flowing normally and dam levels are at their lowest in a decade.

Source: South African Government News Agency