Drought is a national priority and should not be politicised

2016-02-25
Dr Corné Mulder

Certain matters, such as the current drought in South Africa is so important that it has to stand above ordinary politicking and parliament should consider organising its order list so that an important debate such as this, is given priority, Dr. Corné Mulder, chief whip of the FF Plus said.

Dr. Mulder called on his co-members of parliament during the debate on the impact of the drought on the agricultural economy not to politicise the issue and said regardless of how fiercely government is criticised, it is important to remember that it cannot make it rain.

He said the drought has had a great impact on everybody in the country and it should be taken into account that South Africa, with regards to agriculture, is simultaneously a developed as well as a developing country.

“In 1990 South Africa had approximately 66 000 commercial farmers. Today there are probably no more than 35 000 farmers left. With regards to developing, the country has a huge component of nearly 1,4 million emerging farmers, and possibly more.

“The reality is however that the 35 000 commercial farmers are producing nearly 95% of food in the country. It is indicative of a developing country.

“Nearly 60% of the country’s people are urbanised. That is why we have to take steps to ensure that the 35 000 commercial farmers remain on their land and keep on producing food. We have to take care that they survive the drought in the interest of everybody in the country.

“Some of the farmers have huge debt and serious cash-flow problems as a result of the drought and ways must be found to make it possible for them to survive.

“Is there, for example, a way in which the state could assist with the issue of a minimum wage? Due to farmer’s cash-flow difficulties, workers will be fired and the country cannot afford this situation either where jobs are lost.

“There are currently nearly 850 000 farm workers. Let us find ways to assist farmers through the drought until their cash-flow situation improves. I call on the minister to assist with this. We cannot end up in a situation where food security is compromised,” Dr. Mulder said.

 

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