Mon Oct 24 12:36:26 CAT 2016

Eastern Cape drought may hike food prices

Gareth Wilson | 06 January, 2016 15:22

Image by: Gallo Images/ Thinkstock

The on-going drought in some parts of the Eastern Cape could lead to a food price hike‚ the government warned.

This was announced following Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform MEC Mlibo Qoboshiyane’s visit to several drought-stricken farm lands in parts of the province.

The drought in the Joe Gqabi District Municipality has already seen the farmlands declared a disaster area in December.

Qoboshiyane visited the Joe Gqabi district and met with farmers and villagers as part of a government intervention plan to assist.

“During my visit to Ugie and Maclear‚ I met with livestock farmers‚ crop farmers and villagers who urged our government to increase numbers of rainwater tanks and livestock feed delivered to them as part of drought relief support‚” he said.

In a statement today‚ Qoboshiyane said that the effects of the drought will hit all communities and likely cause food security challenges and an expected increase in food prices.

“In Joe Gqabi‚ our department delivered 150 tons of lucerne‚ 75 tons of hay‚ 1540kg blocks of mineral lick‚ 100 rainwater tanks with fitted livestock equipment and 760000 litres of water to 76 sites with more water still being carted to rainwater tanks in Lundini.”

Qoboshiyane added that there was still a need to get windmills and boreholes in the area.

“Almost all the maize planted by local farmers with the help of the department in Joe Gqabi is likely not to produce anything. In Ugie’s uMnga Flats‚ farmers planted maize on about 440ha of land in November and none of that is growing.”

During Qoboshiyane’s visit‚ uMnga Flats Cooperative member‚ Sizwe Nxyene‚ told him that their cooperative faces losses of up to R2.3-million due to the drought.

“According to the reports I received‚ farmers in this district lost about 355 cattle and 44 sheep in this district alone. So their worry and anxiety around this is justifiable‚” Qoboshiyane stressed.

Qoboshiyane is visiting KwaKhonjwayo village in Ngquza Hill to assess the progress of maize planted by the department.

The tour is expected to end tomorrow in Centane‚ whereafter a report will be issued to Premier Phumulo Masualle on the status of drought in the province and the effect it has had on the agriculture sector.

“A decision whether to extend support to affected farmers and the costs of that will be included in the report the MEC will submit to the premier‚” Qoboshiyane added.

- The Herald/TMG Digital


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