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Drought putting red meat producers under pressure, says AgriSA

The head of the organisation's disaster management centre Willem Symington said that the country's four worst-hit provinces were the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

FILE: Sheep grazing in a field near Swellendam, in the Western Cape. Drought, climate change, economic downturn, security issues in rural areas, and uncertainty about the future of land reform in South Africa, are making agriculture in South Africa an increasingly challenging environment. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - Drought conditions continue to grip various parts of the country with farming communities most severely affected.

Agri SA's 2019/2020 drought report stated that 37.44% of rural communities were currently impacted by drought.

The group found that real agricultural output was 9.2% lower in the first half of this year than the corresponding period of 2018.

The head of the organisation's disaster management centre Willem Symington said that the country's four worst-hit provinces were the Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo.

"We as Agri SA feel that government should have already declared these provinces as distaster stricken more than a year ago and it could have been better managed from there on."

Symington said the red meat sector was under pressure.

"Red meat producers are under stress and the national feeder herd, we see that as a national assest, because there is no way you can replace animals other than the normal processes of calves and lambs being born. At this stage, we are in danger of having critically low levels of stock in our national breeding herd."