President Mokgweetsi Masisi has declared 2017-2018 an arable agricultural drought year, forcing government to putup about P856 million for relief and special assistance measures, which commenced on July 1, 2018 and will continue until June 30, 2018.
The President made the declaration based on the Drought and Household Food Security Assessment and Analysis exercise, which was undertaken from April 16, to May 25, 2018.
“The assessment indicated that the 2017-2018 rainfall season was characterised by two distinct patterns. “Rainfall season was normal over most parts of the country to moderate over the southwest. The unevenly distributed rains coupled with the scotching heatwave that prevailed in the ploughing season, resulted in lower hectorage planted.
“Livestock is anticipated to survive until the next current rainy season. However, the situation may change in the lean period. The current water situation is good despite relatively low water levels in some major dams, smaller ones and wellfields.
“Furthermore, indications are that, livelihoods of a significant number of rural households remain vulnerable and thus the need for government’s intervention,” a statement from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development explained. Relief and special assistance measures identified by government include restocking of the Strategic Grain Reserve to augment the 78% estimated cereal deficit and continue to monitor the situation, payment
The government will also increase the Ipelegeng quota by 3,000 slots to cater for referred eligible beneficiaries as well as inclusion of running and material costs for new projects in the budget to enable efficient implementation of the programme, re-introduce direct feeding initiatives for children (6-59 months) in localities with high prevalence of malnutrition, and continue provision of urgent basic food relief packages (North East, Mabutsane, North West, Okavango, Kgalagadi).
Furthermore, the government will continue provision of supplementary school feeding to all primary schools and a second meal in all remote area communities’ primary schools countrywide.
Provision of food rations for vulnerable groups (under 5s, TB outpatients, medically selected lactating and expectant mothers) will be continued.