Government developing drought mitigation strategy

Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said her department was working with the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to develop mitigation strategies in the provinces afflicted by drought.

She responded to parliamentary questions from DA MP Phineas Masipa, who asked about such strategies.
Didiza said monthly advisories issued to farmers contained adaptation and mitigation strategies.

“The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development is working with the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to develop additional adaptation and mitigation strategies in Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape,” she said.

Didiza also said her department has held meetings with the National Disaster Management Centre to discuss the continuing drought conditions in the three provinces and proposed programmes to adapt and mitigate the impacts of drought.

She added meetings were held with the three provinces to come up with an integrated programme.

“The department is in the process of engaging the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the proposed interventions to expedite the implementation.”

The Minister stated her department has developed the climate change adaptation and mitigation sector plan and the climate smart agriculture strategic framework.

The department is implementing these sector plans through programmes, appropriate strategies and approaches such as climate smart agriculture in collaboration with the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in the drought-stricken areas, including the Karoo regions of the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape provinces.”

Asked if the farmers affected by drought were provided with any funding to alleviate the effects of the drought, Didiza said her department has facilitated the allocation of drought relief funding through the National Disaster Management Centre.

“An amount of R138 489 000 was approved under provincial disaster grant allocation. These funds were made available following the declaration of the drought as a national state of disaster in February 2020.”

She said seven provinces benefited from the allocation, including the Northern Cape (R35 689 million), Western Cape (R25 090 million) and Eastern Cape (R35 million).

“The implementation of the interventions is still in progress as the funds were transferred in July 2020,” Didiza said.

The department is disseminating the National Agrometeorological Committee Advisories which have seasonal forecasts and suggested measures to mitigate and adapt to impacts of drought, among other hazards.

“Some measures recommended in the advisories include keeping livestock in balance with the available grazing, selection of drought-tolerant cultivars and provision of additional feed to livestock,” she added.

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