Drought impacting farming in the Eastern Cape

Stats SA’s Community Survey 2016 report reveals that the Eastern Cape has the highest number of residents leaving the province to find work, the lowest access to clean drinking water and the highest number of teen girls falling pregnant.

The report shows that the South African population has increased from 40.6 million in 1996 to 55.6 million in 2016.

Since 2011, the Eastern Cape population has risen from 6 562 053 to 6 996 976. During the same period 1 592 798 residents left for other destinations within South Africa, mostly to the Western Cape.

The Eastern Cape has the highest number of households with no access to piped water (442 167), with KwaZulu-Natal the next worst.

The Western Cape has the lowest number in this section. The Eastern Cape also fares the worst in the section focusing on food security and “households who skipped a meal in the past 12 months” with 17.6%.

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The Eastern Cape’s number of agri-households or households relying on farming has dropped sharply since 2011 from 35.4% to 27.9%, a significant decline in a rural province.

“In all these sections, the drought has played a part and we have also seen some municipalities going backwards with service delivery in the province.” said Statistics General Dr Pali Lehohla.

The Kouga has experienced job losses in the agricultural sector with the water allocation to farmers in Hankey and Patensie being cut by 60 % as the Kouga dam runs dry due to a prolonged lack of rainfall.