Government will over the next three years provide an additional R553.3 million towards drought relief efforts, National Treasury said on Wednesday.
As dam levels remain at lower levels compared to the same period last year, National Treasury said the funding will assist those affected, especially farmers, to get more water and animal feed.
“The 2016 Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure allocates a further R553.3 million for the acquisition of a mobile desalination plant and animal feed, ahead of rains expected later in the year.”
National Treasury also said in line with the aims of maximising agriculture’s contribution to jobs and growth, and more efficient use of public resources, several government departments are working to improve coordination of farmer support programmes.
This, National Treasury said in its Medium Term Budget Policy Statement, will eliminate existing overlaps and double-dipping of funding from the agriculture and rural development departments.
“National and provincial government reprioritised R1.6 billion towards emergency funding for drought-relief initiatives between April 2015 and June 2016. The funding was used to provide water-tankering services and animal feed, and to refurbish and drill boreholes.”
Meanwhile, National Treasury said over the next three years, the agri-parks initiative will be rolled out.
“These parks are intended to help small farmers with production, processing, logistics, marketing and training within district municipalities.
“They are expected to contribute to rural job creation.”
National Research Foundation to fund more Masters’ students
National Treasury said the Department of Science will over the period ahead focus on increasing research and development.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will perform relevant research, strengthen the skills base, and transfer skills and technology.
“Each year the CSIR will fund research that will result in at least 25 new technology demonstrators and 15 new patents.
“National Research Foundation funds will increase the number of masters students supported to 5 350 per year over the three-year period.” 
Meanwhile, National Treasury said government will establish the Waste Bureau, which will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of industry waste management plans.
This will include managing and disbursing revenue collected from waste management charges, and putting in place a new institutional arrangement to manage the recycling of tyres and associated revenue collection. –