South Africa is battling the worst drought since 1992 which has led to seven provinces (Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape) declaring a provincial state of drought disaster. The Western Cape Province has declared a local state of disaster in three municipalities (Central Karoo, Eden and the West Coast). The Gauteng Province is the only province that has not yet declared a state of drought disaster.
In responding to the situation, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the Provincial Departments of Agriculture (PDA). In the 2015/2016 financial year that ended on 31 March 2016, allocated R263 million towards drought relief through reprioritising the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme (CASP); while provinces have 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 2016/2017 financial year, the DAFF further requested for drought relief assistance from the National Treasury through the National Disaster Management Centre, of which R212 million has been made available for the provision of animal feed for the remaining three months of 2016 (October, November and December 2016).
The drought’s devastating effects are quite palpable and pose a risk of social upheavals. While some parts of the country are experiencing some rain, the country in its entirety is receiving below average rainfall as compared to previous seasons due to the El Nino phenomenon. Most rivers are not flowing normally and dam levels are at their lowest in a decade.
DAFF is committed to engaging and providing the necessary support to farmers during this difficult period of drought.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries