Agri SA takes over management of Drought Disaster Fund

Agri SA will be taking over management of the Drought Disaster Fund which was originally initiated by Senwes in association with Agri SA.

The fund, which was established eight weeks ago to provide assistance to farmers in distress, now stands at R1 878 353.78.

Christo van der Reede, deputy executive director of Agri SA, said the move will ensure that all relief funds are managed at a central point. The fund will continue distributing fodder and allocating funds to farmers in need. Many established and new farmers are struggling to survive as a result of the severe drought, with some at risk of losing their businesses altogether.

The South African Weather Service has confirmed that in 112 years, the lowest annual total rainfall for South Africa occurred between January and December 2015. This is according to an analysis of data dating back to1904.

Although the annual total rainfall for South Africa in 2015 was the lowest annual total since 1904 (403 mm), the four-year period between 1930 and 1933 might still be the driest continuous period experienced in South Africa.

Van der Reede warned farmers and the public to be aware of individuals or entities that establish fraudulent bank accounts to receive drought relief funding. He appealed to the public to first verify account details or drought relief initiatives.

If farmers receive feed from sources other than Agri SA, they should also confirm the source and quality of feed. “Agri SA ensures that the feed it distributes is of a high quality and not years old as this would be detrimental to a farming operation and animals,” he said.

He said several significant contributions have been made by companies such as Beefmaster, Voermol, Sanlam, Monsanto, Grainovation, Overberg Agri and First National Bank. Spoornet and other transport companies have also indicated that they are willing to transport fodder. South African Breweries have made empty trucks available to transport feed.

Producers who require assistance should contact their nearest farmer union to apply for assistance. Farmers then have to complete a needs assessment and all requests will be submitted to Agri SA.

For more information on the fund, visit www.droogterampfonds.co.za or contact Christo van der Reede at Christo@agrisa.co.za.