The price of red meat will skyrocket as a result of the extreme drought in the Western Cape, say government officials and agricultural specialists.

This comes because of the drought affected areas such as Beaufort West and the Klein Karoo – which are well-known for red meat.

Agri Western Cape spokesperson and Karoo farmer, Laubsher Coetzee, told IOL that the severe drought has caused a shortage in livestock and will impact on the retail price of red meat.

“The farmers have to cull their lambs because they don’t have enough food for animals, and this means farmers have little left to farm and produce meat,” said Coetzee

Coetzee attributed the shortage to other factors as well.

“The other problem is that baboons and other predators are targeting the lambs because they are easy prey. They kill and eat the sheep, which means there is even less to take to the market.”

Beaufort West’s main water source, the Gamka Dam is bone dry as a result of the drought over the Western Cape. Alternative water resources are under pressure as 12 of the 39 boreholes that supply over 50 000 residents in the area are empty. The severe drought is impacting on the livelihood of livestock.

Local members of the Beaufort West area are calling for donations.

According to Agri Western Cape chairperson, Carl Opperman, the severe drought has caused live stock to starve, because of the low fodder production for cattle and ostriches.

A drought relief fund for farmers in the Klein Karoo has been established to provide aid to farmers and prevent the unnecessary slaughter of livestock.

“We can not allow animals to die from hunger,” Coetzee said.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Alan Winde, indicated that the Central Karoo has suffered from the drought and an increase in food prices is expected.

“We see jobs being shed, and the biggest affected regions are the Central Karoo, where there has been little rain. We have made tons of fodder available to farmers, and the drought relief is also helping, but this also means there will probably be increased food prices, especially with Karoo lamb, which is one of our signature meat products,” Winde said.

Red Meat Producers Organization Chief Executive Garhard Schutte indicates when the price increase will take place.

“From now to the festive season, with a less than a 5 % increase in pricing,” Schutte said.

Picture: Pixabay

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