Despite recent heavy rain in the Western Cape, the province’s farmer association has warned that the industry is not yet out of the woods. Dam levels have increased slightly to 26% in recent days. However, authorities say levels need to reach an average of 85% before stringent water restrictions can be lifted. The agricultural sector, which is the largest consumer of water, has had its supply cut between 60% and 87%. Western Cape farmers have recorded more than R14bn in losses so far, according to Agri Western Cape. CEO Carl Opperman said at the weekend that the water situation had improved from a year ago, but that the crisis was far from over. "The water restrictions on farmers remain in place … we need our dams to be full. Wine and citrus farmers [have been the hardest hit by the water restrictions]… and the southern Cape has not received much rain," said Opperman. Farmers have warned that the agricultural sector in the province faces a jobs bloodbath. An estimated 50,000 people ...

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