JOHANNESBURG– Climatologists say parts of South Africa will receive less than average levels of rainfall in the next three months as the drought-hit country shows no sign that the drought will come to an end soon, with farmers in drought-stricken areas who remain the hardest hit.

So far, the provinces of Northern Cape, Western Cape and Eastern Cape have been declared disaster areas.

But in the spirit of the rainbow nation, a group of North West farmers have stepped up, contributing close to 800 million Rand (about 59.5 million US dollars) worth of maize to drought-stricken areas.

For the worthy cause, the farmers donated more than 320 tonnes of maize and animal feed to drought-stricken areas in Eastern Cape and Western Cape. More than ten trucks filled with maize drove down to the two provinces with the donations for affected farmers.

Weather experts say the country is going through a period of low rainfall as a result of global changes in climate conditions

Meteorologist Azwitakadzi Tuwani said Monday: Going forward, we can look at the next season. The rains are low in most areas and to be bearer of bad news. The Eastern Cape is not getting enough rain, stretching into the eastern parts of Western Cape province and North West Province. There are some months (which) will be better, but for most we will see less rainfall.

The knock-on effect of the drought is a huge drop in staple food production and an increase in prices to consumers.

Omri Van Zyl, the chief executive officer of AgriSA, an agricultural industry association, said: The situation is better than it was. We have received some rains in the Western Cape.

“However, rhere are regions that are still very dry like Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Western Cape and they have a dire need of assistance of feed and fodder; the drought is not at an end.

The areas most affected are Western Cape, while parts of Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State and North West provinces are currently faced with drought.