Eastern Cape drought reduces agricultural production

Reading Time: 2 minutes

There’s still no end in sight for the drought in the Eastern Cape with farmers being the hardest hit.

The main supply dam to farmers in the Gamtoos Valley as well as the Nelson Mandela Metro, the Kouga Dam, has only 7% water.

It supplies irrigation water to farmers as well as to the Nelson Mandela Metro.

New water restrictions were implemented this month and farmers are now allowed to use only 20% of what they were using previously.

The drought has reduced agricultural production and has led to job losses in the sector.

Despite donations of fodder, small stock farmers like Dickie Ogilvie from Aberdeen are battling.

He says: “It is impacting on our pockets finacially, having to buy feed for our stock. Even though we had huge donations from outsiders, it is till not enough. The problem is production. The conception levels are low. The ewes haven’t conceived resulting in no sort of breeding material being born. That is a major problem.”

No significant rain is expected before November this year.

Gamtoos Irrigation Board CEO, Pierre Joubert says the situation is dire.

He says: “The vegetable farmers will obviously reduce 20% of what they normally produce because they only have 20% of their normal water allocation.”

“The current citrus crop is not bad. There’s just a little loss I’m not sure how much. I think this coming year the water situation might be much worse. As a result there’s going to be job losses. Seasonal workers can’t get work because there is less work,” he adds.