The IFP in KZN calls on the Provincial Government to offer drought relief assistance to farmers immediately as the drought continues to persist.

“We heard that the Department of Water and Sanitation has committed a further R96.62m to finance water tanks and additional drought intervention projects in KZN but we have not heard any word from the KZN MEC of Agriculture, Cyril Xaba about what his department is doing to assist farmers in this difficult time. We want hear him as to what plans his department has and when those plans will be in operation especially in the rural areas. There is money available, so what is the MEC waiting for while crops are being destroyed and livestock are dying? He must show leadership and act now before people start dying,” said IFP Spokesperson on Agriculture, Mr Nhlanhla Msimango, MPL.

“Because of the severity of the situation this year, we believe producers need more assistance than they can get from existing crop insurance programs. This is a serious situation and we call for urgent interventions to lend assistance to affected farmers, both established and emerging. More finance structures are needed to counter agricultural risks. The drought has exacerbated the issue of viability and part of it can be fixed by more finance structures commensurate with the risks associated with agriculture,” continued Mr Msimango.

“I think that we do need a national policy, because drought is always going to be with us. We need a trigger point for when drought kicks in and we need to know that there’s a system in place that’s going to recognise that there is a drought. We’ve been skirting around this problem for years. We further recommend the establishment of a permanent drought and disaster structure including the private sector to discuss, evaluate, monitor and plan all natural disaster aspects,” concluded Mr Msimango.

The IFP further believes that there is a need for the provincial government to create more feedlots across the province to cater for farmers needing such service as the drought continue to persist.