Agriculture minister has renewed hope SA will survive drought

The minister says he is extremely concerned about the food price increases linked to the drought.

A school girl tries to collect water from a dry puddle in Nongoma, in KwaZulu-Natal, which has been badly affected by the recent drought. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Agriculture Minister Senzeni Zokwana says he has renewed hope that the country will survive the current drought due to recent significant rainfall.

The department says it's being estimated that the latest harvest will produce 7.4 million tonnes of maize - that's a shortage of 3.8 million tonnes of the staple food.

The minister says he is extremely concerned about the food price increases linked to the drought.

Zokwana says the recent heavy rain fall in much needed provinces have changed the country's bleak picture of maize supply.

"Initially around November/December we may be compelled to import five and six million tonnes, but that has gone down because of the rains."

He says the drought has hit the poor the hardest - something they tried to avoid.

Zokwana says government and stakeholders in the agriculture industry need to come up with new ideas how to change the current farming methods to avoid soil erosion and other drought-related issues.