“The drought conditions of 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2019 have left many maize producers in the North West and parts of the Free State in a very challenging environment,” Symington said.
He was not happy that only the Eastern Cape had been declared a disaster area, saying Limpopo and the Western and Northern Cape “should have been declared disaster areas more than a year ago”.
Symington said the sector needed better early warning systems, speedy disaster declarations, and insurance to cover disasters, among other interventions.
Red Meat Producers Organisation CEO Gerhard Schutte said R16bn had been taken out of the red meat industry in 2019, compared with 2018.
“The good news is that in SA we have adaptable animals, and in spite of this drought we are very competitive.
“We are 30% below the international norm in producer prices,” he said.
“What also counts in our favour is that we have a well-developed, modern feedlot industry.
“[But] we need soft loans, insurance and aid from the government, not only for the emerging sector but for commercial sector as well.”
Agri SA executive director Omri van Zyl said the priority was for SA to remain a food-secure country.
The Agri SA drought disaster fund has disbursed R3.4m to Agri Western Cape, R1.3m to Agri Eastern Cape, R4.2m to Agri Northern Cape, R9.9m to other provinces, R100m for other donations for transport, humanitarian and boreholes, R19m for cash donations, and R1.5m for diesel donations. —BusinessLIVE