South Africa - Afasa calls on govt for urgent action against drought

22.03.2024 143 views

In a stark warning to authorities, the African Farmers Association of South Africa (Afasa) has raised the alarm over the looming drought disaster facing the country’s agricultural sector.

According to Afasa, the ongoing drought has placed the 2023/24 grain crops in jeopardy, leading to significant losses for farmers across the nation. The repercussions of these losses extend beyond the fields, with the livestock industry also feeling the strain as maize shortages drive up feed prices.

Farmers in crisis

Dr Sandile Ndlungwane, chairperson of Afasa’s Grain Chamber, emphasised the domino effect of the drought on food security and the wider economy.

“The unfortunate reality is that these losses not only threaten the livelihoods of farmers but also pose a serious risk to South Africa’s food security,” Ndlungwane said.

Abel Naphtally, the chairperson of Afasa’s red meat chamber, echoed these concerns, highlighting the lack of adequate measures to mitigate disaster risks for livestock farmers.

“We are lagging far behind other agricultural powerhouses in implementing strategies to protect our farmers against production-related risks,” Naphtally said.

Afasa president AJ Mthembu called on the government to take immediate action to support affected farmers, particularly those without financial reserves or insurance coverage.

“Farmers are facing a crisis with no safety net to catch them. It’s time for the government to step in and provide the necessary assistance,” Mthembu stated.

In response to the dire situation, Afasa has penned a letter to the minister of agriculture, land and rural development requesting urgent intervention. The association is seeking both short-term relief for farmers who have already suffered losses and long-term measures to bolster resilience against future disasters.

With the spectre of food inflation looming and the threat of livestock culling on the horizon, the agricultural community anxiously awaits the government’s response.

The outcome of Afasa’s proposed meeting with minister Thoko Didiza could prove decisive in shaping the trajectory of South Africa’s agricultural sector in the face of this unprecedented crisis.

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