More than 100 000 hectares of grazing land has been lost as a result of veld fires in the Northern Cape. File pcture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)
More than 100 000 hectares of grazing land has been lost as a result of veld fires in the Northern Cape. File pcture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

Farmers given livestock feed after veld fires devastate land in Free State, Northern Cape

By Mayibongwe Maqhina Time of article published Dec 10, 2020

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Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza says 145 verified farmers affected by veld fires in the Northern Cape and Free State were assisted with livestock feed.

This emerged in Didiza's response to parliamentary questions posed by DA MP Phineas Masipa.

Masipa had asked about the total amount of financial support provided to each affected farmer and the cost of damage caused by fire during October.

He also wanted to know how the department was assisting the farmers with loans from the Land Bank who cannot access the input costs.

Didiza said a total of 82 tons from the provincial fodder banks, which was R3 000 per ton, were provided to the farmers.

She said extension services gave all affected farmers notices to collect the fodder from the fodder bank at Vaalharts Research Station, as calculated on listed large stock units per farmer.

“Free State Department of Agriculture declared a state of fire disaster and requested R15 million from their equitable share to assist 117 farmers and still awaits the disbursement of that amount.”

Didiza also said no direct financial support has been provided to the farmers as yet by both provinces, while Free State awaits the disbursement from the provincial department to support the affected farmers.

The minister said a total of 44 060 hectares, 110 for Free State and 43 950 for Northern Cape, have been damaged by fires.

Didiza also said according to the preliminary reports submitted by both Northern Cape and Free State, there was no indication of any farmers who needed loans to rebuild their farms.

"In the meantime, the Disaster Management Act requires that the provinces must reprioritise their budgets to address the immediate needs of affected farmers and then approach the National Disaster Management Centre for additional funding."

Political Bureau

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