By Ina Cilliers MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Agriculture:
The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) must as a matter of urgency approach National Treasury through the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) to request funding to assist the agricultural sector in the province to avert complete collapse of the sector.
It has the power to do so through the Provincial Disaster Management Centre in accordance with the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002).
Once the grant is secure, GDARD must liaise with agricultural unions and stakeholders on how best to administer this funding to avoid corruption – which, as past experience has shown is rife, and funds often never reaches the intended beneficiaries.
This should have happened as early as March, as long range weather forecasting had already predicted dry weather conditions as a result of the El Niño phenomenon.
Currently, the market is set to be flooded with meat produce as farmers will have to slaughter livestock due to the drought, as there is not enough fodder.
The knock-on effect in the short term will be a devaluation of meat and over saturation of the market – in the long term there will be meat shortages and excessive cost hikes negatively impacting farmers and consumers.
The consequences of inaction will be far reaching on both food and job security. The time for proactive governance has never been more urgent.