A cow is seen near a dry river outside Utrecht, a small town in the northwest of KwaZulu-Natal, November 8, 2015. Cattle are the traditional asset by which Nampie Motloung, a subsistence black South African farmer, has long measured his wealth. But a blistering drought has made them a liability. Picture taken November 8, 2015.      To match SAFRICA-DROUGHT/      REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko
A cow is seen near a dry river outside Utrecht, a small town in the northwest of KwaZulu-Natal, November 8, 2015. Cattle are the traditional asset by which Nampie Motloung, a subsistence black South African farmer, has long measured his wealth. But a blistering drought has made them a liability. Picture taken November 8, 2015. To match SAFRICA-DROUGHT/ REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

Limpopo runs out of relief funds

By Chester Makana Time of article published Nov 19, 2015

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Johannesburg - First a debilitating drought and then severe hail storms, demolishing dozens of houses across two districts and leaving many homeless, and now the Limpopo provincial government has warned it was running out of money for disaster relief.

Provincial authorities said that funds allocated for stock feed aid had been exhausted, and they were unable to relieve the situation further by buying livestock feed for stressed farmers.

The national government has offered the province R3 million to tackle drought in the province after a total of three provinces, including North West and KwaZulu-Natal were declared disaster areas due to the drought.

“We are in the dire situation, the drought and storm, the R3 million that we were given, now is already depleted,” head of the Limpopo Agriculture department, Jacqueline Ramatsimela, told reporters at a disaster management meeting in Polokwane.

She said the funds were used to procure supplementary stock feed. “We purchased 15 000 bags and shared these among 541 farmers across the province.”

Five of Limpopo’s districts were declared disaster areas after the poor rainfall and dwindling dam levels.

North West and KZN has reported a similar shortage of cattle feed and water.

Experts say an additional R51 million was required to mitigate against the effects of the drought and repair damage caused by the storms.

Ramatsimela said they have submitted a report to national government seeking an endorsement to tap into current allocation.

Cooperative Governance Traditional Affairs MEC Makoma Makhurupetje said the recent rains had hardly any impact in changing dam levels.

“The drought is still a big a problem, we just received a report from Water and Sanitation on dam levels, they are dropping,” she said. “We are still on a serious crisis.”

The rain that come did not even make impact to deal with a drought. The predictions are that we are getting rain maybe towards January-February. But there are areas that will get above rainfall, some might get below which means this drought might continue.”

Limpopo farmers had earlier said they were concerned that poor rainfall would reduce production and force the country to import food.

Some farmers said they were buying their own cattle feed while others said they feared that they would exhaust their savings in trying to save their livestock.

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