Mzansi Agriculture Talk

Agriculture

Farmers, are we approaching Day-Zero?

The Northern Cape was not showing any positive signs of recovery with the continued drought affecting livestock farmers. The province’s livestock reduced its numbers by more than 30%.

South African water dams and catchment areas are running dry.

Farming communities are searching for alternatives to this quagmire.

Over the past week, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) announced that Limpopo, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape water levels dropped by 52%.

In Graaff Reinet, Ngweba Dam was literally empty and boreholes have also gone dry. Minister Lindiwe Sisulu roped in the NPOs to assist in providing 3 super links laden with water, water tankers, drilling machines.

“We are the new official rapid response unit for the National Department of Water and Sanitation, as requested by Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Intervening in Graaff Reinet is an extension of our major intervention in the Eastern Cape. We are currently involved in Adelaide, Bedford, Queenstown, King Williams Town, Nanaga and Makhanda.

 “Butterworth is next,” said Gift of the Givers’ Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

The Northern Cape was not showing any positive signs of recovery with the continued drought affecting livestock farmers. The province’s livestock reduced its numbers by more than 30%.

Gift of the Givers provided fodder to Northern Cape farmers as a temporary relief for livestock farmers.

“Water storage in the Northern Cape Province is currently 115.2 million cubic or 78.2% declining week by week,” said Minister Sisulu.

Rainfall predictions by the South African Weather Service also caused consternation and concern for farmers.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, Mpumalanga and Limpopo had the “highest water use per hectare irrigated, (9 913 m3/ ha) and (8 841 m3/ha).

A majority of farms source their water from irrigation schemes and with little rainfall, WWF advises alternative farming methods.

“Farmers will have to get innovative in order to produce more with less, especially when it comes to freshwater availability. Precision farming is becoming increasingly important. Many fruit and wine producers are already using the latest agricultural technologies and online tools to provide insight into water use on their farms.” It looks like farmers are on their own based on the current little government intervention. Water Boards are communicating little on ways to assist farmers

Farmers, are we approaching Day-Zero?
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