Agri Western Cape urgently appeals to grain producers in the north of the country to donate maize to the organisation’s drought relief fund. Jannie Strydom, CEO of Agri Western Cape, says the reality is that the drought that has been plaguing the province since 2015 still continues in the Klein and Central Karoo, as well as the Matzikama district of the West Coast. Agricultural producers in these areas are in extreme distress. He says many farming units are no longer economically profitable, and many producers no longer have the financial means to cope with the drought.

Lees dit in Afrikaans

Parts of the Matzikama district have received some rain in recent weeks, but it is not enough to make any difference to the drought conditions. Drought still prevails in the Central Karoo, with very little rain that has fallen since February. The Klein Karoo is very dry with the levels of the Stompdrift Dam and Kammanassie Dam in Oudtshoorn at 7 and 0,1%, respectively, and the Poortjieskloof Dam in Montagu on 0%. All agricultural commodities in these areas have been affected.

In the Klein Karoo, where winter grain plantings are dying due to the lack of rain, the prices of ostrich products have halved overnight and are still falling. Strydom says this is due to international economic factors that have brought the demand for ostrich leather, meat and feathers to a standstill.

Effects of COVID-19

“To date, we have been able to manage the drought in the Klein Karoo relatively well within the framework of supply and demand of these products, but with the outbreak of COVID-19, the situation has changed drastically.

“We now urgently need donations in the form of maize for animal feed. Grading is not a requirement, and Grade 3 maize will help. We also request financial contributions to the Agri Western Cape Drought Relief Fund to enable us to deliver donations of feed to the producers in the drought-stricken areas whose viability depend on it,” Strydom said.

Agri Western Cape has been providing drought relief to producers since 2015, and according to Strydom, this would not have been possible without the help of the public who still supports the Agri Western Cape Drought Relief Fund. “The goodwill towards the agricultural sector we have experienced over the past few years has strengthened our hand to provide both drought and humanitarian aid in the drought-stricken areas. We are very grateful for that,” he said.

To contribute to the Agri Western Cape Drought Relief Fund, contact the office at 021 860 3804, or use the banking details below:

AGRI WESTERN CAPE

ABSA CHEQUE: 400 960 313

THANK YOU CODE: 334 210

REFERENCE: Drought relief and company or individual’s name and surname. – Press release, Agri Western Cape