THE NUMBER OF JOBS LOST IN THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR DUE TO THE ONGOING DROUGHT
Despite recent rains raising hopes that the dry spell is over, the South African Weather Service has warned that the country is not off the hook just
“People should not think that because we received 10mm or 20mm of rainfall that they can start wasting water. The problem is dire at the moment,” said the agency spokesperson Hannelee Doubell.
She said El Nino was “fizzling out” and chances of it returning were very slim. South Africa is currently recovering from the El Nino effect which brought a drought that ravaged most parts of the country, leaving farmers counting millions in losses.
While there were prospects of better rain, the drought was still with us. It will take between three to four years for dams to refill to respectable levels.
“There is definitely hope but recovery will be very slow. Unless we have a sudden 300mm of rainfall in South Africa,” she quipped.
Meanwhile, the weather service has indicated in its November 2016 to March 2017 seasonal climate watch that there was a possibility of well above-normal rainfall conditions which, given the current drought effects, may cause flooding which will have a negative impact on other economic sectors such as agriculture.
“The forecasting system shows enhanced chances for above-normal rainfall conditions for the coming seasons. The likelihood for extreme wet conditions is also highly favoured at least for the beginning of the summer season.”
Doubell also said water levels at dams and other water sources have been dropping at an alarming rate despite the late rains.
The current drought is the worst that South Africa has experienced in decades, and it has already had a severe impact on jobs in agriculture and food manufacturing. Earlier this year, Stats SA reported that the drought last summer saw jobs in agriculture decline by 37 000. At the same time, food prices are rising because of poor rainfall.