Drought already cost Western Cape grape farmers R500m – MEC

2017-05-24 20:43
(Suzanne Mustacich, AFP)

(Suzanne Mustacich, AFP) ((Suzanne Mustacich, AFP))

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CT to spend R315m over three years to deal with water crisis

2017-05-24 14:26

The City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia De Lille said the city plans to spend R315 million in the next three years to deal with the ongoing drought in the Western Cape. WATCH

Cape Town – Western Cape Agriculture MEC Alan Winde has said the ongoing drought in the province will cost grape producers an estimated R500m.

"We’ve seen a decline in the volume of wine grapes harvested, in part due to a lack of irrigation water," Winde said in a statement. 

"In livestock, we estimate that more than 30 000 animals have been sold as farmers battle to feed their core herds."

This follows an announcement by Western Cape premier Helen Zille on Monday that the province has been declared a disaster zone due to the drought.

In the statement, Winde estimated that R96m will be needed to support farmers in drought affected areas for the next five months. A request will be made to the national treasury for additional funding.  

He said his department has already reprioritised R80m for drought relief in the 2015/16 financial year.

Winde said livestock and irrigation farmers have been among the worst affected by the drought.

"Current water restrictions for irrigation farmers vary from 30% to 100% in the Berg/Riviersonderend water system. These restrictions can have a serious impact on the crop yields in 2017/18," he said. 

"It means very little water will be available for the very important post-harvest irrigation period."

During post-harvest irrigation, water is required to move fertilisers into the soil in preparation for the next crop, Winde said.
He said the provincial department of agriculture continually support farmers with real time data of water usage by crops.

"Farmers can access accurate information on the water needs of their crops, field by field, at any given time," he said. 

"Using only satellite data and weather station data, we can tell farmers how much water their crops used in the previous week and whether the crops experienced any water deficits."

Read more on:    alan winde  |  cape town  |  drought  |  water crisis  |  water

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