Original Research

Impact of climate change on primary agriculture, water sources and food security in Western Cape, South Africa

Elliot M. Zwane
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a562 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.562 | © 2019 Elliot M. Zwane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 November 2017 | Published: 17 April 2019

About the author(s)

Elliot M. Zwane, Department of Agricultural Extension and Animal Production, Centre of Rural Community Empowerment, University of Limpopo, Sovenga, South Africa


Climate change is undoubtedly one of the biggest crises that humanity is facing today. There is a robust scientific consensus that human-induced climate change is occurring not only in the Western Cape but around the world. The objective of this research was to assess the impact of climate change on primary agriculture and food security. The paper is based on a literature review. A variety of literature reviews, for example, 11 government reports and 21 journal articles including experience outside Western Cape, were consulted to enrich the local experience regarding the impact of climate change on agriculture. The results indicated that many dams had low water levels (40%) during 2016/2017, which reduced crop yields including grapes. Droughts, which affected both smallholder and commercial farmers, are now a common phenomenon. Livestock production has declined over time, with small stock, the beef and dairy industry being the most affected. The paper concludes by highlighting climate adaptation and mitigation interventions and strategies for both crops and livestock production in the Western Cape. The major recommendations included scaling up on the use of organic matter to avoid burning and creating gas emissions to the atmosphere, the effective use of livestock manure and the use of appropriate and adaptable seed varieties, managing the manure of the livestock to assist in mulching to reduce water loss through evaporation and using adaptable seeds.


climate change; impact; mitigation; primary agriculture; adaptation; drought


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