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Agri SA

Mediaverklaring / Media Release


Privaatsak / Private Bag X180 Centurion 0046, Tel +27 (0)12 643 3400, Faks/ Fax +27 (0)12 663 3178

Agri SA calls for a National Disaster Declaration


Agri SA welcomes the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Des van
Rooyen's announcement to declare eight provinces as drought disaster areas. This
announcement together with the motion adopted by parliament to declare the drought as a
national disaster lay the basis for comprehensive financial and humanitarian aid by
government.
This is now of critical importance to ensure food security for every household. In this regard
government and organised agriculture have an instrumental role to fulfill to optimise
sustainable food production by and retention of jobs in the agricultural sector of these
provinces as well as to protect producers' production base and thereby retaining South Africa's
food security status.
The next planting season is around the corner and government assistance is urgently required
to enable farmers to plant on a large scale during the new planting season. Livestock losses
have also occurred and it is also important to rebuilt livestock herds over the next 12 to 18
months. Financing is also required to assist farmers with their carry-over debt. This will enable
them to recover quickly and to start with production after the drought. A major concern is the
Western Cape, where the expected rainfall in the Swartland and West Coast region did not
materialized as yet. A shortage of fodder during the winter in summer rainfall areas pose an
additional challenge which can be mitigated with the government assistance.
Agri SA therefore calls on the government to provide financial assistance to farmers as soon
as possible. Organized agriculture wants to be part of these efforts to get fodder and other
forms of humanitarian aid to farms as effective and efficiently as possible.
Agri SA has been actively mobilizing the general public and private sector since November
2015 to donate fodder and other forms of humanitarian aid. 20 000 commercial and emerging
farmers were assisted thus far. With the help of the retail sector, food hampers and bottled
water were also distributed to farm worker communities.
A well-coordinated effort and cooperation between all stakeholders are now needed to mitigate
food shortages and socio-social crises. Farmers should however not lose hope, because a
notable weakening of the El Nino weather phenomena is forecasted by weather experts.
Issued by Agri SA, Directorate: Corporate Liaison
Enquiries
Mr Johannes Mller, President Agri SA, 082 647 8481
Mr Omri van Zyl, Executive Director, Agri SA, 012-643 3400 or 082 417 5724