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#DroughtCrisis: WC farmers hope for winter rain

Agri Western Cape says winter rainfalls in the province are late, placing farmers at risk.

The water level of the Theewaterskloof Dam near Cape Town dropped to around 30 percent in March 2016. Picture: Aletta Harrison/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Agri Western Cape says winter rainfalls in the province are late and this will only further exacerbate the drought.

Farmers have already planted their winter crops but not enough rain has fallen, placing them at risk.

The organisation's Carl Opperman says rain is needed to get through this winter.

"The West Coast District Municipality area, where the farmers have already planted crops, did not get the expected rainfall. We are in dire straits as the wheat and the canola that is dying off."

The City of Cape Town recently called for "more creative water consumption" as dam levels across the Western Cape fail to recover.

Provincial government implemented level 2 water restrictions at the start of 2016.

Despite some rain over the last few weeks, the Western Cape remains a water-scarce province amid an ongoing nationwide drought.

WATCH: Facing a dry future: How bad is the water crisis really?

IRCF PLEDGES $110 MILLION

The International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) pledged $110 million to a new initiative to help drought-stricken southern African countries.

In South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, last year's poor rains have been followed by an El Nino-driven drought that has delayed planting and stunted crops.

An estimated 31.6 million people across the region are struggling to feed themselves, and the figure is expected to rise to more than 49 million by the end of the year, the IFRC said in a statement.

The organisation aims to help a million people over the next five years with emergency food distribution, training in irrigation schemes and new farming practices.

South Africa said its 2015 winter wheat crop had fallen 18 percent from the previous year, and it would have to import around 60 percent of its needs in this marketing year.

Additional information by Reuters