1 November, 2015
AgriSA calls for urgent action to address South Africa's drought conditions
The ability of South Africa's farmers to continue to produce at the levels
needed to maintain national food security is under threat by further drought
and consequential financial woes, which could have significant knock-on effects
for the economy.
Agri SA president Johannes Möller warned on Tuesday that there was a high
probability of a second consecutive year of drought across many regions in the
In drought-stricken regions, such as those in the North West, Free State and
KwaZulu-Natal provinces, this threat was compounded as farmers were exposed to
severe financial losses. As such, they had found it arduous to operate their
businesses sustainably or meet their obligations to financial institutions,
Agri SA advised in a statement.
These financial institutions could, in turn, limit production credit for the
coming season. As such, farmers could face severe financial constraints as well
as inadequate water resources in the season to come. Möller cautioned that,
left unmitigated, these factors would result in lower crop production, labour
shedding and rising food prices, as had been the case this year.
"This is a serious situation and we call for urgent interventions to lend
assistance to affected farmers, both established and emerging," he said.
Agri SA had been monitoring climatic developments closely and had already
started to engage with financial institutions, agricultural industry
representatives, government stakeholders and disaster risk specialists.
Möller added that through this process, Agri SA aimed to reach a solution that
would enable the continuation of a vibrant agricultural sector. "While we
acknowledge current fiscal constraints, we urge government to prioritise
disaster relief to agriculture as a mechanism of enhancing food security and
promoting prosperous rural economies," he stressed
Source: Engineering News