“Earlier than usual flooding” stretching from the Prieska to Kakamas areas in the Orange River region of the Northern Cape, have left farmers concerned about the rest of the season. Wilco Fourie, chairperson of the Orange River Agricultural Organisation, has stated that the Orange River started flooding its banks about a week ago, following heavy rainfall in the Orange and Vaal river catchment areas two to three weeks prior.
Although there were reports that several lands with cash crops such as maize, cotton and watermelons, had suffered water damage, Fourie said it was still too early to determine the impact on crops such as table grapes, raisins, wine grapes, and pecan nuts.
Ferdie Botha, chairperson of Raisins South Africa, estimated that about 3% of the 14 000ha under dried grape production could have been destroyed, along with essential infrastructure such as bridges to some of the islands under production in the Orange River system, as well as flood walls.
Fourie: “We have been working with the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation for the past two years to identify ways to improve the overflow [situation]. We believe that this, along with the use of modern technology, will help to significantly reduce the impact of flooding in the future.”