Western Cape farmers suffer flood damage of R1 billion


Following the recent heavy flooding in the Western Cape, the province’s Department of Agriculture (WKDL) has released an updated report of the estimated financial cost of this damage.

RNews earlier reported that in the middle of last month, severe rainstorms occurred widely across the Western Cape – and this led to heavy flooding.

Daniel Johnson, spokesman for Dr. Ivan Meyer, MEC for agriculture in the Western Cape, says an initial assessment carried out at the end of last month calculated damage to primary agriculture on the West Coast, the Cape Wineland district and the Overberg and the extensive damage to riverbanks, irrigation equipment, private roads and vineyards and fruit orchards that were submerged in mud, confirmed at R1.053 billion.

The estimated cost of the damage is:

  • Irrigation: R7.7 million
  • Fencing: R1,4 million
  • Sediment washed into rivers downstream and washed over riverbanks, vineyards and orchards: R748 million
  • Crop losses: R278 million
  • Loss of income (seasonal workers): R18.7 million
  • Cost to clean a weir to provide drinking water to 400 people: R120 000.

The above estimates do not take into account potential losses higher up the agricultural value chain, nor the effects on future exports.

Johnson says the department is ready to rush to the aid of these farmers. “Armed with a more credible, albeit conservative estimate, officials together with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development will approach the National Disaster Management Center to have the flood-damaged areas declared a disaster area and unlock the associated funding so that support can be provided.

“In the meantime, the WKDL will ensure that affected producers get access to the best technical information through its guidance and consultancy services.

“In addition, the department will also extend its current program of river protection works to flood-affected river systems, as this will mitigate the effects of future flooding.”

Johnson says the WKDL will reprioritize existing emergency allocations and approach the national sector department and national disaster management center via the provincial disaster management center to cover the cost of river protection works.