• March 22nd, 2019
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Emergency drought aid reaches more than 200 farmers and 91 680 animals


Deon Schlechter

WINDHOEK – More than 200 drought-stricken Southern farmers and 91 680 animals benefitted from the private initiative of Summerdown/Steinhausen rancher Henriette le Grange.

The initiative collected close to N$500 000 and supplied thousands of bales of Lucerne, feeding pellets and mixed feeds to starving animals. After another run from the Grootfontein area with lucerne and mixed was completed last week, these struggling farmers praised the emergency drought feed programme called Namibian Farmers Drought Aid as one of the most successful and commendable efforts ever undertaken to bring instant relief to farmers on their knees now from persistent drought since 2013. A total of 202 farmers from Keetmanshoop, Grünau, Kὅes, Bethanie, Karasburg and Aroab in the South could not hide their relief and joy when the blitzkrieg of Good Samaritan Le Grange kicked off about three weeks ago with instant results, supplying feed to 91 680 animals to date.

The programme will now bring the plight of these farmers to the capital on March 1 when individuals and companies will be able to buy ten street corners in Windhoek with prices ranging between N$8 500 and N$10 000.

Le Grange says the event has the blessing of the City of Windhoek and companies are welcome to brand their corners with teardrop banners in such a way that it does not obstruct traffic. Corners in all the important streets in Windhoek such as Sam Nujoma Drive and Robert Mugabe Avenue, David Hosea Meroro and Mandume Ndemufayo, Nelson Mandela Avenue and Frankie Fredericks and Sean McBride will be up for sale. On April 6, popular musicians Brendon Peyper and Adam Tas will perform at the Windhoek High School hall and proceeds will also go to the farmers’ fund.

The humble Le Grange is known for not many words, but action. “I have been involved with drought aid programmes since 2013 because I live among these devastated farmers and understand what a bit of fodder can mean in these tough times,” says she adding that seeing is believing and if one has never been to any of the farms affected, than she/he will never understand just how terrible conditions have become for the owners.” She says she is extremely pleased that they could reach out to especially the cash-strapped communal and emerging farmers as they are virtually helpless. “Commercial farmers in these areas are also equity-drained and we could also make a difference in their cases,” she adds extremely thankful to all farmers, businesses and individuals who contributed in either cash or supplied free lucerne and mixed feeds as well as pellets. They made available free transport of the feeds and sponsored diesel for the trucks. In total close to 5 000 bales of lucerne, hundreds of bales of hay and more than 300 bags of mixed feeds were delivered.  “We stand proud to be part of Namibia, where together we care for our farmers in need. This year’s effort is even more commendable as farmers are struggling financially countrywide. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” says this remarkable woman who has become known as the “Mother Theresa of the South”.

To add insult to injury, these farmers have been struggling for years with an incompetent sheep export scheme, and now their sheep prices have dropped dramatically at South African abattoirs. They have not seen proper rains in years, except for some heavy downpours two weeks ago but no follow-up rains.

Johannes Gariseb, one of the communal farmers who received assistance in the form of fresh Lucerne says every drop counts in these tough times.

Meantime Le Grange has opened a bank account where people can still donate cash. The fund is known as the Namibia Farmers’ Donation Fund, and the banking details are Bank Windhoek, Maerua Mall, branch code 483 872 and the account number is 
8004586880.
 


New Era Reporter
2019-02-26 10:04:59 23 days ago

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