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Department drills boreholes to assist farmers

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In their quest to address the severe effects of drought in the province and also to help the affected farmers, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, in the 2015/16 financial year, drilled nearly 60 boreholes at a cost of R17 million to supplement scarce surface water resources in all five districts.
Giving an update on the situation Spokesperson for the Department, Selby Makgotho said that they still have 13 applications for boreholes pending and these will be considered in this financial year.
Asked about the criteria used to allocate boreholes in various areas, Makgotho said considerations are based on the severity of the situation.
“We drill boreholes, we provide the equipment and we also do the testing and this is to ensure that they become fully functional. The other thing is that the boreholes do not benefit one community but a number of surrounding villages,” Makgotho said.
He also mentioned that most of the applications for boreholes came from Mopani and Sekhukhune areas because they are the hardest hit in terms of drought.
“The effects were quite adversarial. However, there is a slight decrease in applications submitted to the department precisely because of the recent rains that had impact on the nutritional value of the grass,” Makgotho said.

Asked when they will complete the borehole programme, Makgotho said they don’t have a time frame because they are entirely dependent on the rainfall. “So the more it rains the better for us, but we will continue to have our contingency plans in place to deal with these adversarial effects. Also the rains came little bit late and at the time wherein the effects of drought have been badly and severely felt,” Makgotho said.
On the matter of fodder distribution Makgotho stressed that their main target is communal livestock owners who don’t have any means to sustain their livestock. “We are still continuing with the rollout programme.
“We have spent R43 million in the past financial years alone, we are currently making use of the R46 million this is made of the R28 million received from the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and also the allocation made by the Provincial Government as well as the department by adjusting some of the programmes. Our appeal to the farmers who did not receive the drought assistant is that we will help them,” Makgotho concluded.

Story and photo: Herbert Rachuene
>>herbert@mailbox.co.za

Featured photo: Selby Makgotho, Spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.