Large-scale farmers' production dwindling as WC drought bites

Western Cape's Agriculture MEC Alan Winde visited Graafwater says that some West Coast farmers are taking a beating due to the drought.

 A view of Clanwilliam Dam in the Western Cape. Picture: www.clanwilliam.org.za.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape's Agriculture MEC says that some West Coast farmers are taking a beating due to the drought.

Alan Winde visited Graafwater on Wednesday where he met with locals who've been cultivating vegetable gardens.

But while subsistence farming is surviving, large-scale farmers' production is dwindling.

There’s an 80% decrease in potato crops and a drop in wine and export quality citrus.

This is according to MEC Alan Winde, who says that a lack of water is accelerating farmers’ woes.

“There’s thousands and thousands of hectares of agricultural land below the Clanwilliam Dam that’s now under severe water restrictions which produces a lot of products and revenue for our country. They’re all now going to produce 50% less in productivity.”

Farmers are being throttled and are forced to use 60% less water, with the Clanwilliam Dam level at around 36%.

While commercial farmers are struggling, many Cedarberg and West Coast residents are securing their own production with food gardens springing up in their backyards.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)