Western Cape farmers come together to help each other survive drought
Farmers have dug deep to provide 100 tonnes of animal feed for those most affected by the drought which has crippled parts of the Western Cape’s agriculture sector.
It was a “great example of partnerships”, Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde said on Monday.
He visited a farm in Malmesbury where the donation, collected from farmers in Bredasdorp, Ceres and Malmesbury, was being prepared to be dispatched to Klipbrand.
“Over the past few weeks, it's been encouraging to see the private sector and fellow farmers joining hands to assist those hardest hit by the drought,” he said.
The agriculture sector, through its link to agri-processing, was one of the province's key growth sectors and had the potential of creating a significant number of jobs.
“Under a high-growth scenario, the agri-processing sector’s Gross Value Add could grow from R12 billion to up to R26bn in the next five years,” he said.
Winde said projections showed temperatures would continue to rise, while there would be a reduction in annual rainfall.
To ensure the sector survived, the Western Cape government was promoting “conservation agriculture” which involved minimum soil disturbance, maximum soil cover, and crop rotation.
The province’s wheat farmers who adopted it had seen increased production and profit, reduced soil erosion, and improved water quality and soil health.
In December, Winde approved an emergency support package for emerging grain farmers badly affected by the drought. The farmers received a maximum of R6500 a month for six months to ensure their food security, and to help them stay in the sector.
Those farmers struggling to pay their employees would get a subsidy of 70% of the minimum wage, or R1824.75 per month, per employee, for a maximum of six months.