Wheat farmers in the Western Cape say they are experiencing below average crops following the recent crippling drought.

Despite good rains this winter, some farmers say they are struggling.

Thirty eight-year-old farmer, Willem Pretorius from Koringberg in the Swartland says he has started harvesting this year’s crops but expects a below average output.

“Because the previous five years were catastrophic something drastically has to change. We’ve tried all the new methods and sharpened the pencil quite as far as we can but without rain there’s only so far that you can go,” says Pretorius.

Agri Western Cape CEO, Jannie Strydom, has called on authorities to assist.

“We see carry over debt from previous seasons and unfortunately it puts enormous pressure, financial pressure on the producers.  We just can assume and plead with the banks and financial institutions to assist the farmers in a way or as far as possible.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has written to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to request that she urgently declare the prolonged drought in some parts of the country a national disaster.

The party says parts of the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Limpopo are grappling with little or no intervention from national government.

The DA says provincial governments do not have the capacity to deal with the situation and to provide drought relief to their residents.

They say the situation also affects food security and the economy as farmers are unable to water their land and feed their livestock, while small business owners are unable to continue with their daily operations.

 

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