A ZAR 50 Mn emergency fund has been approved in Western Cape to assist farmers severely affected by drought.
The fund will be channeled to support farmers by providing fodder for two months in areas prone to drought.
“This drought will be felt for years to come, especially in the rural areas where agriculture is the main generator of the Western Cape economy. The socio-economic impact on farmworkers and farming communities would be significant should the agricultural activity in the Western Cape collapse,” Western Cape MEC for Finance and Economic Opportunities, David Maynier said.
Maynier highlighted that agricultural and agri-processing sectors are important to Western Cape’s economy adding that in 2018, the sector contributed 36.1 percent of exports from the province.
Unable to endure watching their livestock suffer in the drought-stricken areas, a number of farmers have been reported to have committed suicide.
Insurance company Liberty earlier disclosed that the number of confirmed suicides was 20 percent higher in 2016 than the average for 2014 and 2015.
Liberty actuary Henk Meintjes said while the company was figuring out the reason for the increasing suicide cases, it found a sharp increase in the number of farmers over the age of 55 committing suicide in Northern Cape, where farming is predominantly practiced.
Worthy to note, the Department of Agriculture has made available ZAR 100K fund to help farmers in drought-stricken areas.
Agriculture MEC Ivan Meyer said: “It’s painful when you hear stories from around the country, and in the Western Cape, that farmers are committing or considering committing suicide as a result of the devastating impact of the drought. We have agreed to make R100000 available for pastoral care in those particular rural areas.”
He reiterated the importance of offering the much-needed humanitarian and financial support to farmers.
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