Organised agriculture will ask the government for R3bn in emergency relief after a multi-year drought left five of SA's nine provinces critically parched and two others extremely vulnerable. As many as 31,000 jobs have been lost in the affected areas since January last year, AgriSA said on Friday in a comprehensive survey of the sector. Seven out of every 10 farmers were struggling financially and half indicated that they could be forced to retrench workers because of the drought, AgriSA said. Agriculture accounts for only about 2% of the economy, but punches above its weight in terms of jobs and its role in food security. A widespread drought that started in 2016 has hit maize producers, fruit growers and cattle farmers. "We want financial relief for the agricultural sector in the form of bridging finance for some farmers, especially those in animal production, horticulture and crop production" said AgriSA executive director Omri van Zyl. Some needed cash to finance the transport o...

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