3 more years to bring veld back to life after drought

At least three more years of above-average rainfall is needed to bring the veld back to life following a severe drought in the Western Cape. Dr Ivan Meyer, the provincial agriculture minister, confirmed that 1 110 farmers received fodder support

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While drought-stricken areas of the Western Cape will need three years of above-average rainfall for the veld to fully recover, the provincial government has supported more than 1 100 farmers with fodder support.

The fodder was distributed to “critical and extremely drought-stricken areas” in April, confirmed Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape agriculture minister, this morning.

Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape minister of agriculture. Photo: Supplied
Dr Ivan Meyer, the Western Cape minister of agriculture. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

According to Meyer, his department has categorised the veld in parts of the Central Karoo, Garden Route and West Coast districts as critical or extremely critical following the severe, years-long drought.

The categorisation was based on the latest bi-annual veld assessment completed in March 2021.

“The veld conditions in many parts of the Central Karoo have deteriorated. The veld in Little Karoo is currently in an arid condition, with critically dry areas. Conditions in the Matzikama Local Municipality have not changed much since the 2020 assessment.

“The area is still in extremely critical condition. The veld condition in the Mossel Bay and Hessequa Local Municipalities is currently in a dry condition having received below-average rainfall.”

The Western Cape department of agriculture released a map detailing the current veld conditions in the province. Image: Supplied/Food For Mzansi
The Western Cape department of agriculture released a map detailing the current veld conditions in the province. Image: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Long-term solution

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Meyer highlighted that, in the interim, farmers are encouraged to adopt sustainable farming practices.

“Further support is provided by offering workshops to assist farmers in introducing disaster risk reduction methodologies and practices on their farms. By doing so, we prepare farmers for future disaster episodes impacted by climate change.”

ALSO READ: Drought-ravaged farmer: ‘God’s grace keeps me going’

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