NewsAgri podcast: Department visits Northern Cape
─── ELSABÉ RICHARD 14:21 Mon, 19 Apr 2021
The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development says it has paid a visit to drought-stricken areas in the Northern Cape to confirm whether farmers had received drought relief vouchers last year to purchase fodder for their livestock.
This was made known following a question posed by a DA member of the National Assembly, Noko Phineas Masipa, about whether the department had visited the province in January this year as promised. The department added that the visit was undertaken in the Namakwa and ZF Mgcau districts during the week of 23 March and it found that farmers who had applied for drought relief received vouchers to purchase fodder. This as the department had made R35 million available for drought relief in the province. The department further stated that a total of 3 900 farmers across all categories have benefitted in all affected districts.
Meanwhile, the Northern Cape Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform says efforts to combat locust swarms in the province are hampered because they cannot gain access to some farms. The department's spokesperson, Zandisile Lupahla, says some of the farmers left their farms due to the ongoing drought. However, he says there are contingency plans in place to get the locust swarms under control. Meanwhile, talks are underway between the Northern Cape Department and the governments of both Namibia and Botswana to control swarms. The SABC reported earlier that Lupahla says the indications are that the swarms of locusts found in the Namakwa and Upington regions come from Namibia.
The Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security in Botswana has announced an immediate ban on the import of all domesticated and wild birds and their products such as meat, eggs and feathers from South Africa. According to Colin Steenhuisen, acting general manager of the South African Poultry Association’s Egg Organisation, he had also received reports of trucks delivering eggs being turned away from the Mozambican border last week Friday. According to an article by Farmer’s Weekly, this followed confirmation that the type of avian influenza identified on a farm in Gauteng was the highly pathogenic subtype. However, the specific strain of the virus was not yet confirmed at the time the article was published on Friday 16 April. Steenhuisen told Farmer’s Weekly that Dr Mpho Maja, director of Animal Health at the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development was working with her counterparts in Botswana to have the ban reversed.