Agricultural council sets up policy advisory committee on drought

13th February 2018 By: Natasha Odendaal - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

A high-level Section 7 committee has been established to consider the impact of South Africa’s prolonged drought, particularly on the agricultural sector, and to generate plans to mitigate its effects.

The State-owned National Agricultural Marketing Council- (NAMC-) formed committee comprises representatives from organised agriculture, agribusiness, government, academia and research institutions.

“The NAMC must step in to use its convening advantages to bring together agribusiness, the banking sector, academia, government and other stakeholders to deal with this serious matter,” said NAMC deputy chairperson and Section 7 Committee on Drought chairperson Harry Prinsloo.

“The Western Cape, and parts of Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State and North West, are currently reeling from this devastating drought, and urgent policy responses are now required to shield the economy from a severe blow that could even threaten the achievement of the goals of the National Development Plan,” added NAMC CEO Zama Xalisa.

As an advisory on agricultural marketing policy to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister and agricultural stakeholders, the NAMC aims to ensure that its recommendations are comprehensive, practical and relevant, taking current knowledge and research outcomes into account.

“This committee must come up with a smart drought disaster management plan using reliable data, intelligence and state-of-the-art analytical tools to advise current policy processes around drought and disaster response, and must focus on interventions that mitigate the anticipated long-term recovery from this drought and the past drought in 2015/16,” Prinsloo added.

The committee plans to produce evidence of the economic impact of drought on key agricultural subsectors and present possible future scenarios to show the outcomes of various responses to drought.

The final report will be submitted to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.