Photo taken on July 21, 2015 shows exposed riverbed in Shanzuizi Village of northeast China's Liaoning Province. The lingering drought in Liaoning has resulted in about 178,200 people lack of drinking water and has affected about 1.15 million hectares of crops. (Xinhua/Li Gang)
Photo taken on July 21, 2015 shows exposed riverbed in Shanzuizi Village of northeast China's Liaoning Province. The lingering drought in Liaoning has resulted in about 178,200 people lack of drinking water and has affected about 1.15 million hectares of crops. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

by Stanley Karombo

Most hard-hit farmers in six provinces are asking the government to provide guarantees for new bank loans as summer temperatures soar, leaving them short of collateral before the start of the new agricultural season, the union said.

“We are asking the government to have a subsidized insurance for farmers involved in food production,” Motsepe Matlala, NAFU CEO told Xinhua.

Due to the persistent dry weather, large areas of grazing land have become baren, maize producers heavily indebted and livestock farmers have run out of stock feed, said Johannes Moller, president of AgriSA, the nation’s biggest organization of commercial famers.

Mpumalanga, the Free State, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu-Natal provinces have been declared disaster areas, said Ben Kgakatsi, Director of Risk Management in the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF).

“The sugar-growing province of KwaZulu-Natal has already been declared as such for general water supplies,” he added.

According to the SA Weather Service, the dry season will continue for some time.

Due to the drought, South African farmers have to reduce maize plantation by 3.8 percent, with 2.551 million hectares for 2016, according to the National Crop Estimates Committee.

Figures released by the Department of Agriculture showed that debt among the farmers accelerated to 14 percent last year to a record 117 billion rand (about 8.7 billion US dollars).

Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Kuben Naidoo said the current farming industry credit extension stands at 93.3 billion rand (about 6.9 billion dollars).

The drought has increased pressure on the government to help farmers struggling to make ends meet. The provincial departments of agriculture have provided drought relief assistance to the tune of 14.7 million rand to small-scale and subsistence farmers.

“This allocation is being used to cater for many affected farmers’ emergency needs such as, but not limited to, providing animal feed, providing water sources and intensifying awareness campaigns,” said Makenosi Maroo, DAFF spokesperson. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.