By Jacques Smalle MPL, DA Provincial Spokesperson Agriculture:
The DA will write to the MEC for Agriculture Joyce Matshoge to request the current tally of livestock deaths due to the persisting drought, as well as requesting the amount of fodder provided through drought relief.
The belated declaration of Limpopo as a disaster area on 6 November 2015 by Premier Mathabatha and the utter lack of planning by the department of agriculture delayed the much-needed assistance to particularly subsistence farmers.
According to information in possession of the DA, funds from the Fetsa Tlala programme have been channelled to drought relief but farmers are still waiting for assistance on the ground.
In the Vaalwater district, to date not a single bale of fodder has been delivered to livestock farmers by the department.
The DA is particularly concerned that according to the Disaster Drought Assistance Application form farmers have to subsidise the fodder they receive from government by 10 – 30% depending on the classification of the farmer. This is not sustainable and places a serious burden on farmers already in dire financial need.
The DA believes that in order to provide effective drought relief to farmers, accurate information must be obtained and updated regularly so that drought relief is not a reactionary approach but a sustainable solution. This is the only way in which food security can be safeguarded.
The DA calls for the MEC of Agriculture, Joyce Matshoge, to be transparent and to publicise her drought relief plans, the budget allocated and where these relief efforts are effected.