Drought conditions still pervasive in Eastern Cape, despite rain

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Farmers in parts of South Africa’s second largest province, the Eastern Cape, were still suffering under hot, dry conditions and water restrictions, while others had received improved rainfall.

Doug Stern, Agri Eastern Cape (Agri EC) president, said that the drought crisis in the province was still far from over, and that many producers remained at risk.

He added that farmers had not received sufficient follow-up rainfall, especially those in extensive inland regions in the west of the province.

Wayman Kritzinger, deputy president of Agri EC, told Farmer’s Weekly that some areas in Aberdeen, Rietbron and Steytlerville had not received any rain, while other areas had received sporadic rainfall.

While parts of Jansenville had received good rain, farmers had still not received the critical follow-up rain. Brent McNamara, operations manager at Agri EC, said that Alexandria had received “reasonable rain”, which had replenished grazing.

As such, farmers in this region no longer needed to buy in feed anymore. However, follow-up rain in this region was also still needed. “[The grazing] is being eaten as it’s growing,” he said.

Water restrictions of 80% were imposed on farmers in the Gamtoos Valley, Langkloof, Bavianskloof and other areas supplied by the Algoa Water Supply System in June 2018 when the Kouga Dam had been at only 6% of full capacity.

Before this, water restrictions of 60% had been in place. Fortunately, good rain in September had replenished the Kouga Dam, which was currently at more than 50% of capacity.

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Sourced: farmer’s Weekly