THE ONSET OF THE DROUGHT
• The Central Karoo and the Matzikama District of the West Coast region first ran into trouble after the winter of 2015 saw very little and far below average rainfall. These two areas are still battling with a severe drought. Many livestock producers in these areas have subsequently lost their entire herds. Agri Western Cape started rendering drought assistance in these two areas in November 2015 and is still assisting producers with feed for their animals. Even with good rainfall, natural grazing is unlikely to recover in the foreseeable future.
• A year later, the Klein Karoo also experienced far below rainfall. This region, well known for its thriving ostrich industry, is in a dire state and in desperate need of rain. Agricultural activities have mostly come to a complete standstill with two dams in the area at respectively 1.7% (Kammanassie dam) and 9.2% (Stompdrift dam). The drought has impacted on the ostrich, lucerne, lucerne seed, livestock, vegetable seed and dairy industries of the Klein Karoo.
• In the Montagu/Ladismith/Barrydale region, hundreds of hectares of orchards have been pulled out. Deciduous fruit producers are on their knees and in the fifth year of a drought. The Poortjieskloof dam stands at 0%, an excellent example of the impact of the ongoing drought. Wine and fruit producers in the region need the dam for irrigation purposes. Farm dams are empty.
• The ongoing drought has also impacted on employment in the agriculture sector and entire communities have been put under severe socio-economic pressure, especially in the more labour-intensive fruit production areas.
* The Western Cape is far from being out of trouble after the 2019 rainy season. This year’s winter rainfall was below average again and not enough to get agriculture out of its drought crisis. Farm dams in the Central Karoo, Klein Karoo, Matzikama district of the West Coast and the Kannaland district are empty and agriculture can prepare itself for another difficult season with some irrigation dams that are barely 50% full or empty, and pastures in the extensive areas that have not received enough rain to start recovering.
WHAT DROUGHT LOOKS LIKE
AGRI WESTERN CAPE REACHES OUT
The Agri Western Cape Drought Relief Fund was established in 2015 and is still assisting livestock farmers in all the affected areas.
However, as the drought continues after yet another season of below average rainfall, it has now become critical for Agri Western Cape to render humanitarian help in the affected areas as well, causing the fund to deplete very quickly. That is why we value every contribution to our fund.
HOW CAN YOU HELP