South Africa’s state-owned Land Bank has called on farmers in drought declared provinces to apply for concessional loans.
With help from the Industrial Development Corporation, 400 million rand ($26 million) has been committed to help affected farmers. The Land Bank is also looking to raise 15 billion rand over the next two to three years.
This comes as a relief to farmers in South Africa hurt by one of the worst droughts in decades.
“The information that we have at the bank indicates that this is the worst period ever to receive the least rainfall in the past 100 years.”
The effects are demonstrable in the dam levels that have reduced by an average of 50 per cent with others at 20 per cent. "A substantial amount of water is not contained in the bulk storage system,” said Land Bank’s chief executive officer, Tshokolo Nchocho.
Nchocho said the implications for agriculture is that some of the areas under irrigation agriculture will not get the required minimum rainfall.
“Some of the areas that are under irrigation agriculture have come under pressure. The amount of land hectorage is 30 per cent less than normally planted,” he added.
Nchocho said this deficit in maize production locally would see South Africa importing the reported four million tonnes to meet the local need.
Some of the areas most affected by drought are the Free State, North West, certain parts of Mpumalanga towards the East and the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.