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If the Western Cape does not get sufficient rain before the end of July, South Africa may have to increase its grain imports by 500 000 tonnes, says agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo.

Farmers can't ramp up their output when there's no water, Sihlobo explains.

The drought could continue to impact wheat production and the increased import of grain could see food inflation rise for the whole country.

He explains that the Western Cape, considered to be the country's breadbasket, produces half of the wheat consumed in South Africa.

If rain materialises and [farmers] can still plant until the end of July, then things could turn out to be postive.

Wandile Sihlobo, Economist at Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz)

But if rain doesn't materialise, we could have a problem, particularly with the starchy foods.

Wandile Sihlobo, Economist at Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz)

Sihlobo says the low rainfall will affect grain, fruit and wine farmers more than South African consumers.

At the same time, Level 4 water restriction are now in place in Cape Town.

Take a listen to his analysis:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : WC needs rain to keep SA's food inflation down, says agricultural economist

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