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Food prices could increase due to drought

By Staff Writer
The summer months are not yet officially upon us and already we face a near drought situation in several provinces, with Kwa-Zulu Natal being declared a ‘disaster area’. This is having a negative impact on agricultural production, which could result in food prices increasing due to the low production yields.

This coming as the worst news for Agri SA, as according to their spokesperson, Carl Opperman, who says “the dry conditions in the province could affect wheat production.”

Opperman went on to add that this expected deficit will have a domino effect on the country’s economy and inevitably cause farmers to lose out on millions.

The drought
In what has been described as the worst drought to hit the country in almost two decades, both Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and North West seem to be bearing the brunt of it.

According to a statement by, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncude has “welcomed the declaration of Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) as a ‘disaster area,’” as it strengthened the province’s bid to national government to aid in providing relief.

The declaration could not have come at a better time,“as the Kokstad and Ingwe municipality in Harry Gwala district have this week become the latest to have to announce major water restrictions given the intensifying drought crisis in KwaZulu-Natal.”

“We need to save every drop because as of now every drop of water counts. The effects of climate change are with us as evidenced by the below average rainfall received during the winter season which has left a number of dams almost dry. KZN is on the red-code in as far as water is concerned and drastic interventions are being undertaken to manage the drought crisis,” stated Dube-Ncube.

According to a report the national Department of Agriculture,Forestry and Fisheries, under the leadership of Minister Senzeni Zokwana said that they were “trying to help secure funding for farmers who are not able to secure credit to replant due to low yields.”

Dealing with the crisis
Zokwana has also come forward in encouraging farmers to apply for additional funding where needed, in aiming to maintain production levels.

“We will be able to look at any other application for assistance, funds allowing, so that farmers can be able to plant again because if we reduce the level of production, that will have an impact on food prices,” said Zokwana.

In addition the South African Weather Service (SAWS) has reportedly said that there are no signs of significant rainfall soon.

This in turn, in addition to affecting our agricultural sector, puts a strain on our water supply.

“The persistent high temperatures and the lack of rainfall in the province has put a strain on (Johannesburg’s) Rand Water’s bulk water supply system,” said the SAWS.

Opperman suggested that this is a problem that affects us all as South African citizens and said: “The urban people must realise that the rural people are under stress and it is going to have a direct impact on them.”

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