NEWS & ANALYSIS

Disaster aid for drought-stricken ECape needed – FF Plus

Wouter Wessels says govt has an obligation to protect both farmers and consumers

FF Plus requests disaster aid for drought-stricken Eastern Cape

23 July 2018

The FF Plus has requested the Minister of Agriculture, Senzeni Zokwana, to urgently make drought relief available to farmers in the Eastern Cape seeing as there is a serious drought in the province.

Even though it has rained in parts of the province, there are still areas in the Eastern Cape that are heavily burdened by drought.

The FF Plus is of the opinion that the government has an obligation to protect both farmers and consumers. Drought relief remains one of the most important mechanisms that the government can use to protect and offer support to the agricultural sector.

Farmers in the Eastern Cape urgently need the government’s help.

Fruit farmers in the province are under immense pressure due to severely restricted irrigation. Woolgrowers have already submitted a general request for aid. Livestock herds have also been reduced to nucleus herds so as to be prepared should the drought continue through the lambing season, which is in August and September when pasture may be insufficient.

Nearly 86% of the country’s sheep population is found in the Eastern Cape.

The province’s meat and wool production affects a much wider area than the province itself as the rest of South Africa is also dependent on Eastern Cape producers.

Agriculture remains one of the most important contributors to the Gross Domestic Product and the government is obliged to protect the country’s most valuable sources of food.

Amongst other things, it entails offering farmers adequate financial support during times of drought.

It will diminish the negative consequences of the drought and it will also protect the consumer against consequent price hikes.

A government that looks after its farmers also looks after its people. Consumers simply cannot afford to pay any more for food.

If the ANC government is serious about food security, it will take action to protect the farmers in the Eastern Cape as well as the consumers.

Issued by Wouter Wessels, FF Plus MP and national spokesperson: Agriculture, 23 July 2018