Drought relief assistance provided to small-scale farmers
Provincial agricultural departments have provided R14.7 million in drought relief assistance to small-scale and subsistence farmers‚ the Department of Agriculture‚ Forestry and Fisheries (DAF) said on Wednesday. It said the funds were being used to cater for emergency needs such as providing animal feed and water sources and for intensifying awareness campaigns.“Declared drought disaster stricken provinces will then submit their disaster funding requests to the National Treasury through the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC)‚” the department said in an update on agricultural drought management.It said the five worst affected provinces were Free State‚ Limpopo‚ Mpumalanga‚ North West and KwaZulu-Natal.To date declaration confirmations in terms of the Disaster Management Act had been received from the North West and Free State provinces while in other provinces the process was still ongoing.“The DAFF has yet to receive written confirmation of disaster declaration from KZN.”The department added that declared drought disaster stricken provinces would submit their disaster funding requests to the National Treasury through the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC).“To date‚ the DAFF approached the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and the Land Bank for possible assistance and the institutions indicated that they have plans in place that can be used to assist affected farmers‚” the department said.The plans included providing soft loans‚ among other things.“However‚ records of disaster declarations in terms of the provisions of the Disaster Management Act‚ 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002) are the main requirements to unlock such assistance.“To ensure drought impact mitigation‚ the department continues to monitor conditions in the provinces and will issue updated early warning information/advisories to the sector‚ which includes strategies farmers should consider in planning their activities when dry conditions are forecast‚” the department said.“The DAFF continues to coordinate and facilitate the process between the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) and the Provincial Departments regarding both declarations and funding requests. The NDMC within the Department of Cooperative Governance (DCoG) is coordinating these national response efforts‚ particularly funding requests to National Treasury.“All sectors are affected by the dry conditions and as such concerted and integrated efforts are required to ensure that the effect of the drought is mitigated.” The department added.