MEC Manapole welcomes much needed rains in drought-stricken areas

The Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs, Land Reform and Rural Development MEC Mase Manopole, has welcomed the good rains that has poured in most parts of the Province.

For the past years, the Province hasn’t received good rains and this impacted negatively on game farming and farming in general.

This, has led to some parts of the Northern Cape, namely, Pixley ka Seme, ZF Mgcawu and Namakwa districts, been declared as drought-stricken hotspots.

In order to alleviate the impact of drought on farmers in these three regions, the Provincial Government has put aside R36 million towards drought relief. This led to farmers in the specified regions, been called to apply for drought relief funding in November 2020.

Farmers who applied received assistance in the form of vouchers, to procure fodder for their livestock. MEC Manopole said the rain will ease the burden on the farmers, who were feeling the heat of drought due to lack of it.

” Recent rains will also bring a sigh of relief to our farmers who are in the commercial and smallholder sector, as well as those in the game farming business. As a Department, we have been noting with concern the dryness of the veld due to lack of rain in the past months,” she said.

Manopole is optimistic that it will continue to pour and put a smile on farmer’s faces. She added that dryness of the vegetation due to the drought created perfect conditions for runaway veld fires.  Veld fires pose a serious threat to both agriculture, and human beings.

“Recently about 100 000 hectors of grazing land around Frances Baard District Municipality, particularly around Jan Kempdorp and Windsorton were ravished by veld fires. Veld fires pose a serious threat to human beings, properties and livestock.”

Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service has warned that the seasonal rainfall forecasts show that there is higher likelihood of above-normal rainfall over the Northern Cape, which is likely to be favourable for the agricultural sector.

Hence, MEC Manopole is urging farmers in the Province to practice soil and water conservation, and establish good drainage systems.

MEC further indicated that, since it is harvesting season, the rain might have an impact on raising production. She urged the farmers to harvest quickly, as the rain might cause damage to the grapes and if left on the trees, might start rotting.

MEC said game farming is a key component of the agricultural sector in the Northern Cape and has also been hard hit by both the drought and the COVID pandemic.  The good rains will augur well for the recovery of the natural vegetation and leading to the improvement in the condition of game.

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