South Africa’s Free State has issued a declaration notice to all municipal managers informing them about the pending drought disaster in the area.

Francois Wilken, Free State Agriculture (FSA) president said the association’s representatives begun gathering information from their members, including applications that would be submitted for assistance.

All municipalities where required to submit declarations to Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA)’s Disaster Management Unit, necessary business plans to render assistance, disaster mitigation plans such as the drilling of boreholes, funding to mitigate the disaster by providing fodder or protein pellets to farmers and water restriction measures.

However, the association’s main concerns were how aid was to be provided, if government has sufficient funds for all drought stricken farmers and that any aid to be forthcoming would arrive too late.

Wilken added that the FSA was hopeful that a forecast of widespread rain over the coming weekend would materialise and help ease the situation.

He added that if the rains poured, it would not be the end of farmers’ struggles as grazing takes time to grow and crops planted late were at risk from early frost, continued dry spells, and other climatic disasters.

Wilken called for the creation of a national disaster fund to facilitate drought insurance on inputs would be ideal.