South Africa

Drought has hit Western Cape agriculture hard

“The number of farms in South Africa has declined by more than two-thirds compared to the early 1990s,” says a 2018 GRCF-AFRICAP report.

According to the draft 2019 National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, in South Africa “the observed rate of warming has been 2°C per century or even higher” which is higher than the global rate of warming.

“The effects of climate change are unfolding before our eyes,” says Janse Rabie, Agri SA policy head for natural resources.  “Unpredictability in weather patterns and the associated impacts makes planning considerably more difficult and heighten the risk for farming in South Africa.”

Before the end of this century, a 2018 Department of Environmental Affairs report estimates South Africa’s average temperature increase will be higher than 6°C in some parts of the country.

“In general, I think we can say that farming is becoming more expensive, more unpredictable, and less profitable,” said Roland Hunter, technical project manager of the African Climate & Development Institute (ACDI).

Unreliable yields, food shortages, higher costs are plaguing farms, Hunter said. These problems contribute to unemployment, housing and food price spikes, migration, and other unseen effects such as health problems, lack of access to services, and degradation of rural land.

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