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Four-year drought plunges central Karoo farmers into financial distress

A farmer’s organisation, Agri Central Karoo, says it’s the worst and longest drought in living memory.

A farm in the central Karoo after four years of drought conditions. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Farmers in the central Karoo say they are in financial distress due to a four-year drought.

Farmer’s organisation, Agri Central Karoo, says it’s the worst and longest drought in living memory.

Producers have been unable to grow crops or feed for their livestock.

Agri Central Karoo manager Dêan Gous says the region has only been receiving light rain of two to three millimetres at a time.

He says downpours of at least 20 millimetres are needed.

Gous says farmers are forced to buy expensive feed, while many are being turned away by banks and the co-op.

“My main concern is the people’s cash flow. We're past the stage of banks helping us, so now people must dip into their investment money and pension funds.”

He welcomes the Western Cape government’s intervention and drought relief but warns that production cannot be sustained.

“This is not enough... so the main thing is people are decreasing their numbers on the shelves.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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