Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema had harsh words for the panel who delivered a media briefing on AgriSA’s latest drought report.
“Just look at this ugly picture of white males, a clear indication of who owns the land in our country,” he said of the panel, which appeared to feature only one person who wasn’t white.
Regardless of the racial make-up of those who shared news on SA’s water situation at the briefing, the news certainly wasn’t good.
According to the body, who held the briefing on Tuesday, both rural economies and the country’s agriculture industry as a whole are threatened by prevailing drought conditions.
Farmers are facing losses, potential foreclosure by banks, and the attachment of farms due to ongoing drought.
“As a country, we are not managing climatic disasters very well. We have a lot of work to do. Drought can change our status as a food-secure country,” said head of AgriSA disaster management Willem Symington.
37.5% of South Africa had been affected by drought, the body said.
“Yields per year are down and farmers are planting less,” Symington said.
“In animal production, we see lessened production due to drought. In the Western Cape, we have seen a loss of 25% in the value of export crops. They are also shedding jobs due to drought. Job losses are around 20 to 25% in the Northern Cape and the Free State.”
According to AgriSA executive director Omri van Zyl, the body has recommended that government establishes a disaster fund to deal with drought, as well as a drought management commission.