Drought tightens its grip

The effect of the drought on agriculture is intensifying on an almost daily basis. It’s already caused production to decline by more than 42%, according to an analysis done by the Western Cape government.

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Alan Winde, minister of agriculture, economic development and tourism in the Western Cape, said his Economic Planning Unit had completed an early analysis of the impact of the drought.

“It has been estimated that we will need to import 750 000t of maize because of the decline in production. At the current maize price, this would result in a trade loss of R2.4 billion.”

He said the unit estimated that national agricultural production had declined by more than 42%, resulting in a 1,1% decrease in the country’s GDP. Consumers will soon start to feel the effects of the drought as food prices start to increase, he added.

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According to Winde the Western Cape government would continue to encourage smart agricultural practices to mitigate the impact of natural disasters. “We have already introduced conservation agriculture. This approach is being driven by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture and the Agriculture Research Council.”