Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, has conducted a site visit to Swartland to assess the impact of low rainfall on the region’s agricultural sector.
Minister Winde’s programme included a visit to the Western Cape Department of
Agriculture’s research farm, Langgewens. Researchers at the farm are investigating how to better manage scarce resources through conservation agriculture.
During his visit, Minister Winde commended those farmers in the region who had already adopted responsible agricultural practices.
Minister Winde met with Grain SA and local farmers as part of the visit.
“The poor rainfall for Swartland will have an economic impact on the region. There are farmers who are not breaking even because of lower yields.
“Farmers raised important issues and these are discussions I will be taking forward. This includes a mechanism for a tax-incentivised system for the industry, so as to ensure provision during the leaner years.”
Minister Winde added: “ At our research farm, Langgewens, we are expecting a 25% decline in yield. Some farmers in the area are reporting a 50% decline in yield. Due to innovative techniques the lower yield decline at the research farm shows the positive impact of conservation agriculture and how it is helping to mitigate some of the weather-related risks. I was encouraged to see that more farmers have recognised the value of conservation agriculture and have migrated to more responsible farming practices.”
Research conducted at Langgewens outlines the impact of conversation agriculture, which includes crop rotation systems.
Key findings included:
- Including crops such as canola and lupin, or annual legume pasture for sheep production, into the traditional wheat production systems of the Swartland region improved wheat production per ha for each hectare planted to wheat in the system;
- Wheat yields were higher when wheat was planted in the season after canola, lupin or annual legume pasture than when the wheat was planted in the year directly following a year of wheat.
Minister Winde said the Western Cape Government would continue to monitor the impact of low rainfall in the region.
“We are in constant discussion with Department of Local Government and Provincial Disaster Management. We will be routinely assessing the situation over the next few weeks. The Western Cape Government does not have contingency funding for disaster relief, this sits with the National Government and is released to provincial governments after the declaration of a disaster.
“First, a request for funding must be submitted to the National Treasury via the National Disaster Management Centre.
This request for a disaster declaration must first be supported by the Provincial Cabinet. At this stage, such a submission has not been presented to the Provincial Cabinet.”
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Western Cape Government