South Africa has reviewed its yield expectations because of the current drought affecting one of Africa’s biggest economies, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said on Friday.
“Food security will be heavily affected by drought because we will not harvest the yield we expected. In some places, no planting was done while some will have very low yields,” Zokwana told reporters in Pretoria.
He said the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) had made available soft loans as emergency funding towards working capital, infrastructure and a small portion “for carry over debt” in the commercial sector.
“The IDC will consider financial assistance to its existing clients that apply for drought relief support while the non-IDC clients, lending will not be made available directly to the end-beneficiary but rather through National Credit Act compliant intermediaries like the Land Bank and AgriBusiness,” said Zokwana.
He said the IDC had already dispatched loans worth R32-million.
Zokwana said South Africa required increased investment on land rehabilitation programmes for improved productivity and water storage capacity.
“Of critical importance to us is that we must invest on feed production and set up fodder banks in all areas affected by drought to counter the ballooning livestock feed prices. Areas that are not experiencing drought and irrigation schemes will be prioritised in this investment,” said Zokwana.
He said, however, that weather patterns were slowly changing with sporadic rainfall in some of the affected provinces.
Zokwana and Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti addressed journalists after meeting MECs from provinces affected by drought.