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Drought, fire put farm jobs on the line in WC

The fruit produce sector faces a R720m loss while the wine sector stands to lose R20m this year.

Volunteers from neighbouring farms helped farmworkers and firefighters to keep the flames at bay at the Muratie Wine Estate on 22 January 2016. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Government says farmers have asked for assistance in order to minimise job losses following the devastation brought by a number wildfires and drought.

WATCH: Desperate attempts to halt flames at Cape wine farms.

The provincial government has heard the fruit produce sector faces a R720 million loss, while the wine sector stands to lose R20 million this year.

Agricultural bodies VinPro and Hortgro briefed the provincial government's standing committee on economic opportunities, tourism and agriculture on the issue yesterday.

Chairperson of the committee Beverly Schafer says there's been a plea for assistance to minimise job losses.

Schafer says government must take heed of this reality and declare the region a disaster area.

VinPro says the industry has suffered damage to the tune of R20 million due to drought and fires, but the wine group says the fruit industry faces an even bigger loss.

WATCH: SA economy suffers as drought continues

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