29 September 2020 - NW1785
Masipa, Mr NP to ask the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development
Whether, in light of her department not extending the four-month national state of disaster beyond 4 July 2020, she will provide details of the (a) consultations that took place with both the provinces and the agri-businesses affected by drought in this regard, (b) prevailing climatic conditions, land care report and veld management conditions that guided the termination of the national state of disaster whilst many provinces are still grappling with the disaster and (c) dam levels of the drought-affected provinces; (2) whether she has found that the prevailing conditions are conducive for productive farming; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?
(1)(a) Yes.Though the declaration (termination or extension thereof) of a national state of disaster lies with the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), consultations were made with all relevant sectors. It was agreed that while implementing drought assistance to the affected provinces, it is also timely to implement adaptation as drought seems to be a frequently recurring if not permanent feature currently. As such, sectors should move towards strengthening adaptation and mitigation strategies so that farmers can be resilient to withstand future droughts. It is also important to note that the drought funds allocated to provinces that they had applied for, they are currently implementing, despite the national state of disaster terminated.
(b) In terms of the prevailing conditions, winter rainfall areas received a mixture of normal to above normal rainfall in June and the beginning of July. Water restrictions remain in place in some provinces while the average level of major dams has increased in most parts of the country. The veld is generally in reasonable condition in many summer rainfall areas. However, farmers are encouraged to supplement feed for their livestock. Livestock is in fair to good condition. Veld fires have been reported in some provinces and farmers were advised to be on the lookout for warnings to stop the outbreaks and spread.
Comparing the vegetation to long-term average, the Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI) difference map for June shows that vegetation activity was much lower over the western and northern parts of the country while central parts experienced much higher vegetation activity.In summary, seasonal rainfall forecast is anticipated to be above normal in early spring over the south-western and southern parts of South Africa as well as during spring over the eastern parts and south-western parts of South Africa. The monthly advisories issued by Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) encouraged farmers to continually check updated advisories, seasonal forecasts and utilize 7 day weather forecasts for short term planning.
(c) Information received from the Department of Water and Sanitation showed that in most provinces dam levels are either similar or higher compared to July of 2019 and 2020 including the drought-affected provinces.
2. The decision to terminate or extend the national state of a disaster lies with the Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) in consultation with relevant experts; therefore, the Minister of CoGTA is best placed to respond to this part. The consensus reached is that the country, after considering all facts needed to strengthen implementation of risk reduction strategies.