19/04/2017 10:57 SAST | Updated 19/04/2017 11:24 SAST

Drought Conditions Possibly To Blame For Increase In Suicides Among Farmers

Banks can only provide overdraft only to a certain limit.

Siphiwe Sibeko / Reuters

Suicides amongst farmers have increased by in the last year, and experts are putting this down to the drought, according to a report by the The Times on Wednesday.

According to the paper, suicides claims to insurance company Liberty increased by 20% last year.

One of the reasons was reportedly suicides among farmers.

Liberty actuary Henk Meintjies told The Times:

"The economic climate hasn't been great for a while [but] the number of confirmed suicides was 20% higher in 2016 than the average for 2014 and 2015... we cannot prove it is because of the economy faltering but it is likely."

He reportedly said 55 farmers committed suicide in the Northern Cape, which could have contributed to the overall spike.

Chris van Zyl, deputy general manager of farmers' group TAU SA told The Times that many farmers in the Northern Cape have had to deal with the drought for years.

"They were already in a dire situation. If you have a few bad years before a drought really kicks in, it just worsens the situation. Banks would provide overdraft only to a certain limit. Many farmers had no options from a financial point of view," he said.