Drought support stepped up in the West Coast District
Drought support to farmers in the West Coast District, Matzikama and Cederberg will be intensified, while in Swartland, farmers do not require fodder support, the annual summer season veld assessment has revealed.
The first round of the bi-annual veld assessment was undertaken over a period of three days last week in the West Coast district and the Witzenberg municipality. The assessment is conducted to inspect veld conditions to determine where drought relief efforts should be directed and to streamline the disaster response at district offices.
During the assessments, the veld conditions in Swartland were deemed to be in a good state and farmers in the area will not require fodder support.
However, in the northern parts of the West Coast District, Matzikama and Cederberg, there had been a deterioration in conditions and fodder support will now be issued monthly, instead of every second month.
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Beverley Schäfer said: “The veld assessment, which we conduct in Summer and Winter each year helps us to determine the state of grazing available to farmers in the province and where best to direct support. Following the assessment, we will be providing additional support to certain areas. Farmers that I have met with who have received drought aid, have all indicated that the support has been instrumental in helping them to continue to farm through the tough drought periods.”
Several areas across the province are still experiencing drought conditions, and now receive monthly drought support in the form of vouchers for animal fodder.
The province has since 2017, issued R200 million in provincial and national disaster funding to support farmers in the province through the drought.
In February, the Department issued vouchers across the province to a total value of R17.6 million to over 1500 farmers.
This is divided as follows:
Central Karoo: fodder support to 610 farmers to the value of R8 554 512
Cape Winelands: fodder support to 62 farmers to the value of R440 215
West Coast: fodder support to 424 farmers to the value of R4 412 909
Garden Route (Eden) fodder support to 422 farmers to the value of R4 202 281
During the assessment tour, it also emerged that communications and coordination between programmes has significantly improved since last year. Support from the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishers (DAFF) and the Provincial Disaster Management Centre is also being received to improve communications at a national level.
The second round of the summer bi-annual veld assessment will take place in the Central Karoo, Eden and part of the Overberg District from the 5th to the 7th March.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Opportunities
(Responsible for the Departments of Agriculture and Economic Development and Tourism)
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 072 372 7044