The North West Province like several other provinces in the country has been declared drought disaster area following the unprecedented poor rainfall and heatwave. In excess of 21000 crop and livestock farmers across the four districts are affected, and this warrants immediate intervention to mitigate the impact in as far as the agricultural sector is concerned.
Following the declaration of the disaster by the Honourable Premier Supra Mahumapelo of the North West Province, the department of Rural, Environment and Agricultural Development (READ) has performed rigorous assessments on the state of drought through the Provincial Disaster Management Centre and in consultation with the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Further engagements also ensued with the National Disaster Management Committee (NMDC) for possible disaster relief in collaboration with the National Treasury.
It is evident that the effects of the drought will affect food security in the province and cause direct production losses on the current crop season.
As an immediate relief, the Department is proactively reprioritizing 20% of the 2015/16 grant funded provincial projects in consideration of the emergency drought relief requirements on fodder and water supply. This assistance is only aimed at assisting subsistence and small producers whilst awaiting the NDMC outcome.
MEC for READ, Manketsi Tlhape is urging farmers in the province not to lose hope. She says the national and provincial government has acknowledged farming loss associated with drought. “We have placed agriculture at the apex of the North West economy, it is therefore proper that farmers should be given support as we go through this period and get back on track for future production,” she emphasised.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS