Rain on its way, but too late for drought-stricken North West

2015-08-05 07:47

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Johannesburg – Above average rainfall is expected in the North West this spring, but it will be too late for some farmers affected by the drought in the province.

"If you look at the long-term seasonal forecast, we do expect above normal rain. It looks quite positive for spring - the end of August, September, October," said Tonie Rossouw, a forecaster at the Bloemfontein office of the South African Weather Service.

There has been no rain since December, but the province had normal rainfall for summer. There has also been no rain this winter, but this was normal.

"There was a critical period at the end of January/February. There was a long period of very dry, hot conditions and heat wave conditions," said Rossouw.

This happened during a critical time for maize.  

"It destroyed the mielie crop there almost completely," he said.

Forecaster Lebogang Mashile said above average rainfall was expected for the western part of the province from October to December. Normal rainfall was expected for the eastern part during the same period.

One farmer, Ponki Makinita, has a herd of Jersey, Simmentaler and Brahman cattle on his farm Klipbult, in the Madikwe area.

"The drought is crippling us. The grass is dry. The sun burnt it... it is brittle and feels like ash; there is nothing cattle can feed on. Look at this land," he told a News24 correspondent.

"I do not know what will happen if it does not rain, but also, if it does rain, we will not recover soon."

He said the drought was the worst he had experienced in five years.

"It [the drought] is recurring. It started in 2010... it is now that we have started to feel its impact."

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  agriculture  |  weather  |  drought

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