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Agriculture, food production, and climate change: Budget Speech 2020
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  • Agriculture, food production, and climate change: Budget Speech 2020
Agriculture, food production, and climate change: Budget Speech 2020
By Mathabiso Khechane In Posted February 28, 2020 0 Comments

Agriculture is generally viewed as the mainstay of economic growth and development, more especially due to its potential in creating employment to more than 70 percent of the rural poor women and youth as indicated in the NSDP II.Unfortunately, the sector is also highly prone to adverse climatic conditions that we have experienced in recent years. Food production declined by an alarming 76 percent between 2018 and 2019 as a result of unfavourable weather conditions, particularly drought. Maize production declined from 110,000 tonnes in 2018 to 35,000 tonnes in 2019.Similarly,sorghum production declined from 40,000 tonnes in 2018 to 1,000 tonnes in 2019. Planting of the 2020 cereal crops to be harvested from April 2020 started in October 2019. However, at the start of the cropping season, rainfall amounts were below average and temperatures higher than normal.Weather forecasts for the period December 2019 to March2020 indicate a higher likelihood of below-average rainfall, which further creases the likelihood of reduced harvest in 2020.Consequently, the 2019/20 total cereal imports are estimated at272,000 tonnes, of which maize imports are 150,000 tonnes and 90,000 are wheat imports.As part of the policy to commercialise agriculture and insulate against climate change, Government is implementing Smallholder Agricultural Development Program, which aims to support farm production, marketing of produce and insulating farmers against climate change events through financial grants.121 more grants amounting to M37 million were recently awarded to deserving farmers, while a study on irrigation master plan and investment framework has been commissioned. read more on the budget speech by Honourable Moeketsi Majoro, MP Minister of Finance

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