The Western Cape Department of Agriculture would on Monday visit farms affected by the recent fires in the region to start assessing what impact the wildfires have had on the agriculture sector.
The area, including Scarborough, Fish Hoek, Signal Hill, the Winelands, Simonsberg and Kommetjie, besides others, had been ravaged by wildfires spurred by winds and extremely warm weather.
It was also alleged that arson could have caused some of the recent fires.
“If the fire is under control and the smoke has subsided, the officials will be able to access the farms to conduct surveys. This will give us an idea of the damage to agricultural land and infrastructure,” Western Cape Economic Opportunities Minister Alan Winde said on Friday.
Winde on Thursday visited the Joint Operations Centre, based at Delvera off the R44, where he received a comprehensive briefing on the fires.
“The fires, and the drought, are putting pressure on our agriculture sector, particularly on the wine-producing regions. It is taking focus and manpower away from harvesting.
“This is going to have a major cost to our economy. The agriculture sector, with its backward link to agroprocessing, is one of our key growth sectors,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Winde appealed to residents to assist authorities with their investigation into alleged arson attacks and commended firefighters for their effort in bringing the blazes under control.
“Our firefighters are true heroes and we salute these brave men and women. I’d also like to thank the public for their support. It was encouraging to see several companies and residents arriving at Delvera with donations for the firefighting teams.”