It has been said that water is the drive of nature. It is needed for many useful things such as cooking and cleaning, however, it is also needed for the growth of agriculture. Due to a lack of water in the dams, Eastern Cape farmers will certainly feel the pinch, when 60% of their water allocation is cut in order to reserve for the growth of the economy.
The recent drought has caused chaos in the economy for the Eastern Cape farmers. The next few months are important to try counteract the effects of the drought in terms livestock, machinery, crops and employment.
A large amount of funds is required for sustaining a farm. Unfortunately, due to the recent drought, the Eastern Cape farmers have resorted to selling their livestock in order to fill the gap in their financial crisis and maintain crops in hopes of a fruitful harvest.
Farmers have had to come up with creative ways to prolong water because of water restrictions. Farmers have had to invest large sums of money to drill new wells, purchase water tanks, and fuel. This means that there is less money to spend on fertilizer, which will cause a decrease in crops, and eventually a drop in the production of food.
The Eastern Cape farmers are accountable for producing one per cent of the country’s total maize production, which is around about 15 000 tonnes of wheat. The production of maize and wheat will, unfortunately, decrease as a result of the water restrictions. Wheat and maize aren’t the only crops that are affected, however. A major decline in fruit is also expected.
Less production and harvesting of crops means that there is less need to employ full-time staff. It has been estimated that for every 10% of water lost in our dam, approximately 1000 jobs are lost on the farms. This will ultimately cause a rise in society’s unemployment rate which will have many consequences for the future.
The Eastern Cape is in dire times, with only 4 months left of 2017, it is crucial that we use our essential resource sparingly. Water is needed to sustain our livelihood and produce economic growth.