1 727 farms in extreme or critically extreme drought conditions in the Western Cape have received R10 million fodder support from the Western Cape department of agriculture (WCDoA).
These areas include Central and Little Karoo, parts of the Cape Winelands and the northern parts of Matzikamma.
Support came in the form of fodder vouchers and farms were supported based on the condition of their natural veld.
Daniel Johnson, spokesperson to the Western Cape minister of agriculture, Dr Ivan Meyer, says that to determine the extent of the prevailing drought, a technical drought assessment is regularly undertaken by the Western Cape department of agriculture.
The results of the assessment revealed that the Northern part of the West Coast District, the entire Central Karoo, and parts of the Eden, Cape Winelands and Overberg areas are still struggling with severe drought conditions and have been classified as extremely critical according to the scientific drought assessment analysis.
“In many areas, no natural vegetation has survived the drought and planted pastures and fodder banks have long been exhausted. Livestock farmers are amongst the hardest hit by the drought. Surplus marketable animals have been culled and farmers are confronted with selling breeding stock to survive,” he says.
The aim of this fodder support is to protect the natural veld and natural vegetation. The support provided is dictated to not by the need to feed animals but rather to protect the veld. “Once the veld is completely destroyed, it will signal the end of farming. So yes, we are providing fodder support so that we can feed the animals, but more importantly, so that we can protect our veld,” he says.
During the last six years of persistent drought, the WCDoA has provided approximately R241 million worth of fodder support vouchers to farmers across the Western Cape.