EC Premier makes R129-million available for drought-hit farmers

FEBRUARY 20, 2016

More than R129 million has been set aside to help farmers affected by the drought in the Eastern Cape, Premier Phumulo Masualle announced on Friday.

"As a province that is largely rural, we remain seized with the critically important priority of stimulating rural development, land reform and food security in the province," he said in a copy of his State of the Province Address, delivered in King Williams Town.

In pursuit of the target of cropping 300 000 hectares, the province had planted 195 421 ha of maize, in which 3670 smallholders participated. For the current season 15 000 ha had been ploughed. Inputs worth R91.6m had been procured.

A total of 3409 households were given seedlings and gardening equipment. This had happened against the backdrop of one of the harshest droughts to ever hit the province, especially in the Joe Gqabi, Alfred Nzo, Chris Hani, OR Tambo, and Amathole districts, Masualle said.

A drought mitigation programme would include increasing fodder production in Qamata, Blue Crane, Cradock, and Keiskammahoek. This would contribute towards the establishment of fodder banks.