Agriculture department is reprioritising funds due to drought, Ramaphosa says
DEPUTY President Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament on Monday that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries reprioritised funds in its comprehensive agriculture support programme to intervene in the agriculture sector, which has been reeling from drought.
In a written reply to DA MP Annette Steyn, Ramaphosa said the programme aimed to ensure that there would be no drastic increase in the number of citizens without access to food due to drought.
Ramaphosa acknowledged that the drought was causing higher food prices in the country. He said the cost of food as a share of the average monthly income of the poorest 30% of the population increased from 48.3% in April 2015 to 56.2% in April 2016.
"Food inflation rose to 11% in April 2016. The department continues to monitor retail food prices and likely impact on the poorest people through the National Agricultural Marketing Council," said Ramaphosa.
The deputy president said the South African Vulnerability Assessment Committee would continue to conduct vulnerability and food and nutrition security assessments throughout the country.
"The severity and magnitude of the impact of the drought on agricultural and nonagricultural livelihoods will have to be understood for better targeting of programmes and quantifying the support required," he said.
The government’s interventions would include social relief, support in food production, drought-tolerant seed and the expansion of the National School Nutrition Programme.
"The department has also invested in programmes such as equipping and drilling boreholes. Furthermore, programmes to combat land degradation are being implemented," he said.