Wheat farmers count losses from drought

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South Africa will have to import as much as 60% of its wheat demand as a result of the drought in the Western Cape.

This is 10% more than the usual quantity imported.

The harvest in the province is down by an estimated 40%.

CEO of Agri Western Cape, Carl Opperman, says in the Swartland, the harvest is down by more than half and it could equate to a loss of up to R650 million.

The area is the core of the province’s wheat production.

Opperman says farmers in the area and further north are battling the worst drought in over a century.

“Some of them are going in for their third year now with no decent crops so their cash flow and their asset value is under severe stress and we are pleading to the credit suppliers that they must take cognisance of what’s happening, especially we’ve got to save the rural areas and see how we can keep these people ticking. Hopefully next year is a better year,” says Opperman.