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Drought could cost agriculture sector R4.9 billion - WC MEC

MEC Alan Winde says various issues are affecting the sector including dwindling water resources and Avian influenza.

FILE: Alan Winde Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Economic Opportunities MEC Alan Winde says around R4.9 billion will be lost in the agriculture sector if the drought continues to linger.

Winde says various issues are affecting the sector including dwindling water resources and Avian influenza.

He says the drought will have a devastating effect on jobs with the possibility of around 36,000 people being laid off.

“There’s quite a lot of activity happening around that kind of discussion with the agricultural industry, so we can mitigate specifically that projected number of job losses. The last time we did a job-loss assessment, it was around 17,000 jobs at risk and now we’re seating at 35,000.”

In August, the City of Cape Town announced it was to receive an R20.8 million boost to its drought relief efforts.

The National Disaster Management Centre said the purpose of the cash injection is solely for the drilling of boreholes and the installation of pumps and pipelines.

Mayor Patricia de Lille declared Cape Town a local disaster area in March to introduce emergency procurement procedures.

Meanwhile, rain over the past several days has done little to assist in alleviating the drought in the Western Cape.

Dam storage levels are at just over 37%, with usable water at 27%.

This time last year, dams were sitting at 62%.

Last month, the City of Cape Town has announced that it will be taking a number of new actions to drive down water consumption with immediate effect, which includes level 5 water restrictions and a further increase in pressure management.

Additional reporting by Kevin Brandt and Lauren Isaacs.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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