A severe drought has affected about 2.7 million households across large parts of South Africa, the country’s President Jacob Zuma announced on Thursday.
Addressing the parliament, Zuma said. "Drought is a big problem and it needs all of us to work together to mitigate the impact. About 2.7 million households are affected by the drought disaster."
He said the impact of the drought on the agricultural sector has been severe and South Africans will start to feel the impact through a food price hike.
He said the worst drought in the country’s history will also cause a rise in debt levels among farmers and job losses for farm workers.
"Farmers are facing a serious challenge of dying livestock due to the drought," he added.
South Africa has been experiencing drought conditions for several months now. Experts blame the El Nino effect, a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean which caused a massive heat wave in the southern Africa region.
The country started experiencing below average rainfall in April 2015, affecting crop harvests in the May and August seasons.
Millions of households are living without water in several rural townships of South Africa after their town council water reservoirs dried up.
Zuma said his government was providing support to farmers and relief to millions of affected households.
South Africa, which is a traditionally maize exporting country, will now resort to importing several tons of food to cover for the shortfall caused by the drought.