SOUTH AFRICAN AGRICULTURE DEPT NEEDS 59 MLN RAND FOR DIASTER DROUGHT RELIEF

The Department of Agriculture in South Africa's Western Cape Province says it need 59 million Rand (about 3.77 million USD) for disaster drought relief to ensure food security and a sustainable future for farms in the province.

The affected disaster areas are the Central Karoo and West Coast Districts, the provincial legislative assembly was told Wednesday. Briefing the legislature's Standing Committee on Economic Opportunities, Tourism and Agriculture, the department outlined what impact the current drought has had and what assistance it has provided.

Department Spokesman Andre Roux said the promised drought relief from the National Government had not been received yet.

"We have provided some funding from our own resources to the extent of about 24 million Rand that is available for drought relief from the province but we still have a shortfall of 27 million Rand if we still want to support our grain and animal farmers for a period of five months," added Roux.

Meanwhile, the Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality, which incorporates the city of Durban, is holding a Drought Relief Business Indaba (meeting) in Durban aimed at finding solutions to reduce the impact of the water shortage on businesses.

The Metro has begun reducing the usage of water during certain times by 15 per cent as dams run dry.

Ethekwini Metro Spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa said she hoped the meeting would yield informed decisions on the issue of water restrictions and savings.

"We appreciate in Ethekwini that our industries must strive-continue to succeed in order to retain the jobs that we have and to create new jobs. So any decisions that we make should be informed by the needs of business and how much water they can reduce."

Meanwhile, some businesses particularly the hospitality industry have heeded the Ethekwini Metro's call to save water.

The Director of Operations at Tsogo Sun Hotels in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Mike Jackson, said: "We are all aware of the critical water shortages in our dams. The dam levels are right down and we know and realise that there is a critical problem. We all have to do something about this and that water is such a precious commodity."

SOURCE: NAM NEWS NETWORK

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