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Karoo farmers concerned over continuing drought conditions

Whilst the provinces dams are looking healthy on balance, there are still regions of the province where the drought has yet to break.

A drought-hit farm in the central Karoo. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Karoo farmers are holding panic at bay as the five-year drought that's gripped the region shows no signs of breaking and a crucial financial support resource dries up.

Whilst the province's dams are looking healthy on balance, there are still regions of the province where the drought has yet to break.

“In the Karoo interior region of the province, things are still quite serious. Largely in the agriculture area, some farmers still haven’t seen a drop of rain, but overall the picture is much better than it was,” said Environmental Affairs spokesperson James-Brent Styan.

And as the drought grinds on, farmers are dealing with another potential problem - the fodder relief fund is about to run out. That's the R170 million fund meant to help farmers keep their animals alive while they wait for rain.

“Some of the herds have already been cut down and only the core of the herds is still on the farm. The veld conditions are such that the animals can’t survive on it, so they really rely on the support.”

However, Agri Western Cape CEO Jannie Strydom said they were confident provincial and national government would be able to continue to support the worst affected farmers.