Action plan to mitigate impact of drought announced
Further strategies to mitigate the impact of the drought on the Western Cape’s agricultural sector was recently announced.
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture hosted a two-day strategic session to discuss the current drought. The event formed part of the SmartAgri initiative, which is a co-ordinated climate change response plan from the government, academic and the private sectors.
Key items on the agenda included:
- Overview of economic impact of the drought on the province’s agriculture sector
- Climate change and the future of Western Cape agriculture
- Challenges facing commercial and smallholder farmers as a result of the drought
- Drought and disaster intelligence
Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, said the event took place at a critical juncture given the
ongoing drought conditions across the province.
Stakeholders in the sector, such as Agri-West Cape, AFASA and academics, lead discussions. Over 100 delegates, including farmers, analysts and national and provincial government officials, attended the drought dialogue. Industry also shared the plans they have used to cope during the drought.
Ministers Winde and Bredell briefed the media on the final day of the event.
“As part of our SmartAgri roll-out, by the end of this event it is our goal to have dedicated teams in place to drive action plans,” said Minister Winde. “This will ensure our agriculture sector is more resilient to the impact of extreme weather events, which are likely to increase.”
Minister Bredell said: “The dialogue will provide an ideal platform for a thorough discussion around the Western Cape Climate Change Response Framework and Implementation Plan for the Agricultural Sector, also known as the SmartAgri plan. SmartAgri is the first ever sectoral climate change response strategy for the province and presents a ‘road map’ for the agricultural sector towards a more productive and sustainable future.”