The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Sunday called on the Gauteng government to take urgent steps to avert a looming agriculture crisis in the province and its impact on food security.
The Gauteng agriculture and rural development department should as a matter of urgency approach National Treasury through the National Disaster Management Centre to request funding to help the agricultural sector in the province avert complete collapse, Gauteng DA Member of the Provincial Legislature Ina Cilliers said in a statement.
“It has the power to do so through the Provincial Disaster Management Centre in accordance with the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act No. 57 of 2002),” she said.
Once the grant was secure, the department had to liaise with agricultural unions and stakeholders on how best to administer the funding to avoid corruption, which, as past experience had shown, was rife, and funds often never reached the intended beneficiaries.
“This should have happened as early as March, as long-range weather forecasting had already predicted dry weather conditions as a result of the El Niño phenomenon.”
Currently, the market was set to be flooded with meat produce as farmers would have to slaughter livestock due to the drought, as there was not enough fodder.
The knock-on effect in the short-term would be a devaluation of meat and over saturation of the market. In the long-term there would be meat shortages and excessive cost hikes negatively impacting farmers and consumers.
“The consequences of inaction will be far reaching on both food and job security. The time for proactive governance has never been more urgent,” Cilliers said.