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Northern Cape farmers still waiting for urgent drought relief

Northern Cape farmers still waiting for urgent drought relief

Farmers in the Northern Cape are concerned that urgent drought relief funding of R35.8 million that was availed by the provincial department of agriculture, land reform and rural development will not reach all farmers in the province by the end of the year.

The drought-relief fund was allocated to ensure that livestock farmers in drought-stricken areas in the Northern Cape are able to purchase fodder through a voucher system with pre identified agri-businesses.

Farmers in especially the Namakwa district, including the district municipalities of Pixley Ka Seme and ZF Mgcawu, were prioritised as they were identified to be in the critical drought plagued ares of the province.

President of the Agri Northern Cape, Nicol Jansen, said that the R35.8 million that was made available by the national treasury through the department of agriculture in February this year has not reached all the farmers in the province.

“There is a hold-up and we would like to see the process being dealt with more swiftly so that the coupons and vouchers can be traded in and help farmers in a quicker and more efficient manner. But we are trying to resolve the issues with the department, and we are trying to find out what is actually the reason for the hold-up,” he said.

Jansen said that he is worried that the process is not being rolled out quickly enough and that the year will end with some of the crisis-stricken farmers not having received the vouchers.

“There is movement, but not fast swiftly enough. I’m afraid that some of the farmers will not get the help for Christmas and that is a real concern for me. R139 million, R35,9 million was allocated to the Northern Cape,” he said.

“Some of the provinces managed to utilise their funding swiftly. The Western Cape for example already gave that help to the farmers between March and April of this year, but the Northern Cape was not able to get access to the money from the department of agriculture,” he detailed.

Source: vkb Food For Mzansi

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