Cape Town – The department of agriculture has imported 1 732 million tons of yellow maize and 72 000 tons of white maize to cover shortfalls caused by the drought, Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana said on Thursday.
For the next season, beginning May 1 and running until April 31 2017, another 4.3 million tons of yellow maize and 1.9 millions tons of white maize would be imported as part of the government’s plan to alleviate the impact of the drought. The government had set aside R1bn to pay for the imported maize.
Yellow maize is traditionally used to feed animals and white maize is preferred as part of a cheap staple diet for many people in the country.
Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpulalanga, North West and Free State have already been declared drought disaster areas. Parts of the Western Cape and Gauteng were also red-flagged as the drying effects of the El Niño weather pattern took hold.
At least two massive campaigns are running to deliver water to people and animals across the country and water restrictions are in place in many areas.