Despite good rains, and good dam levels for the Cape Town metro, some areas of the Western Cape remain severely affected by drought conditions, says an official at the provincial Department of Agriculture.
Briefing the standing committee on agriculture on the drought conditions and harvest outlook in the province, deputy director-general Darryl Jacobs said: “It remains uncertain what the longer-term impact of Covid-19 will be on the agricultural sector. Meantime, the intervention of the department through providing fodder relief and support to the fruit farming sector has enabled sustainability of agricultural production and retention of jobs.”
Regarding the comments on drought conditions in the province, committee member Peter Marais said: “Let’s face it, we have been a semi-desert since the beginning of time. We’ve always had droughts, there’s always been little rainfall. I’m just surprised you haven’t been able to overcome this dilemma. Have we learnt nothing from the Israelis about how they converted a desert into a prosperous agricultural region?”
Jacobs said: “Our smart agri plan, which is the province’s climate change response framework and implementation plan for the agricultural sector, is exactly one of the lessons from not just Israel, but a number of countries around the world. It’s regarded as best practice within South Africa’s agricultural sector and covers everything from drip irrigation to more efficient use of water.”
Regarding harvest prospects, senior agricultural economist Louw Pienaar said: “The crop estimates committee expects the wheat harvest to be the largest in 18 years, while a record harvest of barley and canola is expected in 2020. Areas under production for wheat are expected to decline marginally as a result of expansion in barley and canola in rotation.”
Meanwhile, the total capacity of dams supplying the Cape Town metro decreased by 0.4% between 10 November and 17 November 2020 from 99.7% the previous week to 99.3%.
The City of Cape Town said that daily water consumption for the same period decreased by 20 million litres per day to 714 million litres per day.
Around this time last year, dam levels were at 83.7%.
Residents were also reminded that while water restrictions were lifted from 1 November 2020, the City’s Water By-law regulations still are in affect.
Source: Independent Online