SA's food security in order

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pretoria - Food security for South Africans remains stable though some areas of the country are experiencing lower vegetation activity, says the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

In its advisory for the rest of the autumn and summer season, the department said the first half of the summer season saw normal rainfall over the majority of the summer rainfall areas. It also said livestock is in reasonable to good condition in most provinces.

"Vegetation conditions are normal throughout much of the country but higher in Gauteng, North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The Eastern Cape is still experiencing lower vegetation activity," said the department.

The country's dam levels were also reasonable at 70 percent capacity in most provinces and 100 percent in a few of the provinces. However some dams in the Eastern Cape and eastern parts of the Western Cape were much lower.

The forecast released by the South African Weather Service in January, the seasonal forecast below normal rainfall and above normal temperature are anticipated for the remainder of summer for much of the summer rainfall area.

"Based on the current conditions and the forecast, dry land farmers are advised to consider soil moisture conservation strategies. Although conditions are favourable for irrigation farmers due to improved dam levels in most areas. Water has to be conserved and farmers must always adhere to water restrictions and also continually observe the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, (Act 43 of 1983)," said the department.

According to the department precautionary measures should be in place for veldfires especially in the winter rainfall areas.

"Precautionary measures should also be in place for pests and diseases and regularly scout for these. Contingency plans for heat wave conditions should be in place as above normal temperatures are expected."

The Disaster Management Act (Act no 57 of 2002) urges provinces, individuals and farmers to assess and prevent or reduce the risk of disasters using warning information. The complete advisory can be accessed through the Provincial Departments of Agriculture offices as well as DAFF and AGIS websites: www.daff.gov.za and www.agis.agric.za respectively.-

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