Eastern Cape farmers continue to buckle under stringent water quotas

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Farmers from the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape continue to buckle under stringent water quotas for the 6th year now. The prolonged drought in the province has had a devastating impact on many farmers.

In the last 12 months, several commercial farmers have relocated and others have permanently closed shop.

Last month, the Department of Water and Sanitation announced that the 128 citrus, cash crop and dairy farmers in the valley relying on the Kouga Dam would be permitted to draw just 20% of their usual water allocations from the dam for the year 2022/23.

One of the farmers who is feeling the pinch is Khaya Katoo. He says the lack of water has compromised the quality of production.

“And also with fruit size, it got small and that also reduced the volume of the production last year. I know there is a couple of things that affected last year, I call it a perfect storm. It is like everything went wrong. The market was not good, the fruit was not good, the quality and the volume were not there and the prices were low.”

For small-scale farmers, the knock-on effect of the water crisis has caused many job losses.

In the video below, farmers say their quotas has been lessened: 

Report by Lwando Nomoyi