South Africa’s farm production has dropped to record levels as severe drought affects the country’s agricultural sector. Export of Agricultural products contributes about 11 percent to South Africa’s total annual exports, but the contribution of the agricultural sector to the economy shrank by 8.2 percent in 2016. This is the largest fall in agriculture production since 1995. LoveWorld News reporter Innocent Semosa takes a closer look at the challenges facing the sector.
Drought has severely affected the country’s agricultural productivity capacity and thus affecting negatively South Africa’s GDP. this situation is leaving farmers like Petro Lemmer in a very disadvantaged position, because they depend on borehole water for irrigation, due to the drought, boreholes are drying out.
“As a small holder we depend on borehole for water and if this drought caries on like this the boreholes will dry out and we won’t have water for ourselves because we don’t have pipe borne water like in towns” Lemmer.
South Africa’s worst drought in more than a century is taking its toll on the economy as famers cut job and the cost of producing food surges. According to Petro, when it doesn’t rain, it becomes so bone-dry and the fields catch on fire so easily. She says some farmers are planning to relocate to other provinces.
Obet Phahlane of the Provincial Agricultural Research Council says since 2011 South Africa has been a net exporter of yellow maize but it started to decrease in 2014:
“The current conditions South Africa has been experiencing below normal rain fall and this has led to decrease to our water reserves, in dams and in our reservoirs leading to a serious decline in our water resources.
As we are moving closer to the rainy season we are hoping that things will get better by the day.