The Western Cape Department of Agriculture says damages caused by the recent severe floods in the province, is costing the sector an estimated R1,053 billion.
Heavy rains at the end of June resulted in the loss of lives and wreaked havoc on critical infrastructure.
The bulk of the cost, a staggering R748 million will need to be spent on the rehabilitation of rivers, riparian zones, vineyards and orchards.
A rapid assessment conducted during the period 26 to 30 June 2023 considered damage to primary agriculture sites in the West Coast, Cape Winelands and the Overberg, and confirmed extensive damage to riverbanks, irrigation equipment, private roads and sediment over vineyards and fruit orchards.
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The estimated costs of the flood damage are:
- Irrigation – R7.7 million
- Fencing – R1.4 million
- Rehabilitation of rivers, riparian zones, vineyards and orchards due to large volumes of sediment removed upstream and deposited downstream in rivers, riverbanks, vineyards and orchards– R748 million
- Crop losses – R278 million
- Loss of income (seasonal workers) R18.7 million and
- The cost of clearing a weir to provide drinking water to 400 people – R120 000
The Department says the estimates do not consider potential losses experienced along the agriculture value chain nor provide any insight into the impact on future exports.
The Western Cape government says it will now approach the National Disaster Management Centre with the aim of having the flood-damaged areas declared a disaster and unlocking the relevant funding and support that could be provided.
In the interim, the Department says it will ensure that affected producers have access to the best technical information through its extension and advisory services.
In addition, the Department will also extend its current river protection works programme to flood-affected river systems as this will mitigate the impact of future flooding.
Existing allocations will be reprioritized in the interim, and the national sector department and the National Disaster Management Centre, via the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, will be contacted, to cover the costs of river protection works.