“Working with the provincial departments of agriculture, we have drilled 224 boreholes, 78 of which have been successfully completed.”
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana says the department will continue to support farmers to cope with the effects of drought.
The Minister said this when he tabled the department’s Budget Vote in Parliament
He said the department allocated R381 million towards drought relief following the reprioritisation of the Comprehensive Agricultural Support Programme and Ilima/Letsema funds.
“Our focus is on the provision of animal feed, drilling and equipping of boreholes for smallholder and subsistence farmers.
“Working with the provincial departments of agriculture, we have drilled 224 boreholes, 78 of which have been successfully completed,” the Minister added.
About 320 000 bags of animal feed were bought and distributed to the affected farmers.
He said the Land Bank has also made available an amount of R400 million for concessional loans to drought-affected commercial farmers.
Minister Zokwana added that through the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), the department has introduced a drought-tolerant maize seed.
“In the financial year 2014/15, the ARC distributed 10 000 seed packs to smallholder farmers in various provinces.
“Results indicated that farmers who received and planted the maize cultivar experienced on average 50 percent increased yields when compared to conventional varieties available on the market. We now need to ensure that seed is available for farmers,” he said.