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South Africa

This came after the DA conducted an oversight visit to the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) in Pretoria to review its drought preparations, in light of the government’s denialist claims that there is no national disaster.

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South Africa
“It was clear from our visit that the NDMC is not getting the necessary information it needs from the various stakeholders, chief among them the provinces,” said Annette Steyn, DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The lack of collaboration from other government departments mandated to provide liaison and coordinate their relief activities through the NDMC, coupled with its underfunding and understaffing has rendered the centre ineffective and incapacitated for its task, according to Steyn.

The agricultural sector is taking a knock and this will cause a domino effect of joblessness and increasing financial discomfort on consumers, he said.

The government has rejected repeated calls to declare the drought “a national crisis” despite the fact that five of the nine provinces in the country have been declared drought disaster areas for agriculture.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Bheki Cele said recently that the late rains have offered a solution to the situation, further reaffirming that South Africa will not be declaring the drought a national disaster, despite reports by the department that the rains are too late.

Water shortage has reportedly affected millions of million households in South Africa. The drought has also dealt a blow to agricultural production.

Maize crop production is expected to fall from 14.25 million tonnes in 2014 to an estimated 9.84 million tonnes in 2015, according to South Africa’s Agricultural Business Chamber.

This means the country may have to import food to avert shortages.

The drought, blamed on extreme weather system El Nino, is expected to continue for at least another two months before autumn cooling can be expected to offer some relief.

Significant drops in crop production are also expected in other Southern African countries, like Zimbabwe, Malawi, Madagascar and Lesotho, according to the World Food Programme.

These countries have prioritised drought relief efforts by centralising relief efforts at a national level. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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