While the Western Cape has been blessed with much rainfall, the central Karoo region is still struggling with a seven-year drought and farmers are desperate for help.

There has been sporadic rain over parts of the Klein Karoo, but it has not been enough to support the land.

“There are farms entering the second year with no water at all,” a Klein-Karoo stone fruit farmer told Fresh Plaza. “For the second year in a row their farm dams are bone dry.”

The lack of rain has made it near impossible for farmers to continue as normal.

Jannie Strydom, CEO of Agri Western Cape, said: “Fruit farmers in the Klein-Karoo are under immense pressure. The production capacity of the area has diminished considerably. Around areas like Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Barrydale the situation is critical. In Montagu and Kannaland it’s frightful.”

Speaking to SABC News, manager for Agri-Central Karoo, Dean Gouws says, “The average rainfall for the Central Karoo here is standing at about 16 millimetres and if you take dam levels in our area, is about 15, 95 % which is a sign that there was no rainfall like in the western coast areas here in the Central Karoo. So people are still battling. They are still feeding their animals.”

There has been a slight improvement in recent weeks. The area’s main dam Gamka Dam, which was bone dry in 2018,  is now at 26% full.

However, farmers are still in need of assistance. They are appealing for help to buy feed for their stock.

“We definitely need some funding, some assistance to buy feed for our stock,” said farmer Salie Jacobs. “That’s our main need at the moment. At the moment, we using our reserve funds from our savings accounts just to survive at this point in time.”

Picture: Twitter / Agri Wes-Kaap

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