Commercial farmers in the Western Cape have lost about R20 billion because of the drought in the province, according to Agri SA.
The City of Cape Town estimated agricultural usage of the metro’s water supply at at least 30% – but that well has now dried up as they have used their quota of water.
Janse Rabie, the farming business collective’s head of natural resources, said there was concern with job losses as productivity was set to decrease.
“We are highly concerned about the loss of seasonal employment opportunities and the socioeconomic plight of farmworkers who are impacted by the drought … we are doing all we can to assist.”
Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU) general secretary Katishi Masemola, whose union represents 4 000 workers in the province, said even permanent employees were uncertain about their future.
“We know the drought has decreased productivity and are concerned there will be job losses, not only in the seasonal workers but also permanent employees. We are calling on government to collaboratively work to deal with the issue and stop scoring political points. “This is a national emergency and we need all stakeholders.”
Masemola said in addition to unionised workers in the province there were 16 000 seasonal employees on the wine farms.
Consumer prices for wine were set to skyrocket as producers said they would be forced to hike up prices to make up for the decreased production.
On Monday, Cape Town deputy mayor Ian Nielson announced that Day Zero – the day the taps were estimated to run dry – had now been pushed to May 11.