Western Cape drought’s knock-on effect on SA economy

The drought in the Western Cape can affect the long-term growth of the province and South Africa as a whole, if it is not broken soon.

Western Cape drought’s knock-on effect on SA economy

This is according to Dawie Maree, head of information and marketing at FNB Agribusiness.

“The Western Cape is probably South Africa’s most important export province in terms of agricultural products. The deciduous fruit industry, wine industry and increasingly the citrus industry, are all key export [commodities] that contribute significantly to the overall agri-economy of the country,” Maree said.

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The recent wide-spread rain across the province had done little to alleviate the dry conditions, according to Maree.

A major implication had been the impact on the wheat harvest, which has had a knock-on effect on wheat prices and possibly the bread price.

“Although South Africa is a net importer of wheat, this might mean that we will have to import even more wheat than normal,” he said.

Socio-economic consequences as a result of increased unemployment due to the drought further exacerbate the situation.

“The Western Cape has the biggest agricultural workforce in South Africa at 24,5%. The drought will have a major impact on seasonal employment in the fruit industry, as possible lower production, [will result in fewer] seasonal workers being employed,” explained Maree.

Jeandré Du Preez is the newest addition to the Farmer’s Weekly team. Originating from a Riversdal farming family, she has farming in her blood. After school she furthered her studies at Stellenbosch and has been working as an agricultural journalist for the past two years. She says she feels privileged to write about an industry paramount to the survival of all South Africans and is inspired by the innovative solutions with which the farming community bridges the many challenges they face. She enjoys being able to combine work with travel and appreciates the modesty and friendliness with which South Africa’s farmers share their accomplishments. She enjoys being able to combine work with travel and appreciates the modesty and friendliness with which South Africa’s farmers share their accomplishments. If she is not writing or visiting farms, you’ll find her relaxing with a good mystery novel or exploring her other passions: travelling and cooking.