Pretoria - Government will continue to provide water to areas seriously affected by drought, says President Jacob Zuma.
Government has been providing relief to affected provinces such as the North West, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
Delivering his State of the Nation Address on Thursday, President Zuma commended the civil initiative, Operation Hydrate, and others who have provided water to communities in distress.
Operation Hydrate delivers water to areas which have been hardest hit by the drought.
“The building of water infrastructure remains critical so that we can expand access to our people and industry,” he said.
President Zuma said the first phase of the Mokolo and Crocodile Water Augmentation project in Lephalale in Limpopo is fully operational.
It will provide 30 million cubic meters of water per annum.
“To curb water wastage, the Department of Water and Sanitation has begun its programme of training 15 000 young people as artisans,” he said.
Revitalising the agriculture sector
As part of government’s efforts to revitalise the agriculture sector, President Zuma said the Agri-Parks programme, which was announced last year, had already started to build Agri-parks.
The government’s definition of an Agri-park is a farmer-controlled entity that serves as a catalyst around which rural industrialisation is planned to take place.
The objectives of the park is to provide a network of contacts between producers, markets and processors, as well as infrastructure to process agricultural products.
The programme is aimed at increasing the participation of smallholder farmers in agricultural activities.
Construction has begun in at least five Agri-parks, which are the Westrand in Gauteng, Springbokpan in the North West, Witzenberg in the Western Cape, Ncora in the Eastern Cape and Enkangala in Mpumalanga.
“The agricultural programmes must empower women farmers as well,” he said.
Furthermore close to R350 000 private sector investment has thus far been committed in the aquaculture sector.
President Zuma said nine aquaculture farms are already in production in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Northern Cape.
“Aquaculture appears to be an important growth area within the oceans economy segment of Operation Phakisa,” President Zuma said.
Operation Phakisa is focusing on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’ ocean which are estimated to have the potential to contribute up to R177 billion to the Gross Domestic Product by 2033. – SAnews.gov.za