KEETMANSHOOP – Farmers surrounded by the famous Great Karas Mountains, popularly known as the Karasberge, have received between 120-250mm of rain this year. Karasberge Farmers Association chairperson Hansie Esthuyse said the situation was reminiscent of the massive flooding experienced in 1974.
He said heavy rains, although bringing the much relief to farmers, have also led to substantial damage to farm infrastructure.
“The good showers received have now resulted in an excellent ground climate with much needed moisture in it which is ideal for growing fodder for our suffering animals,’’ the chairperson explained.
Esthuyse said struggling farmers will benefit greatly once fodder grass grow to its full potential with ample water becoming available in addition.
“Farmers will, however, still need three follow up rains of three periods of three weeks before grass for grazing of animals will be ready for consumption accordingly,’’ he added. Esthuyse also noted the rain has caused extreme damage to infrastructure on farms.
“Fencing separating land has been washed away by roaring rivers which will be costly to replace,’’ he said. The chairperson added that most roads in the areas have been severely damaged, making it inaccessible. “Some farmers are in a sense cut off from the outside world because of this, which can have catastrophic consequences in case of emergencies.’’
Trees have also been uprooted, which can have a negative impact on the ecology of the landscapes in areas of the Karasberge. “Saddening, farmers on top of all this also lost some small livestock due to drowning and the absence of adequate shelter during heavy rains,’’ he said.
According to Esthuyse, it is painful for farmers, who were already crippled by a devastating drought, now also have to repair damaged infrastructure on their farms. “With the second wave of Covid-19, it will be a challenge now to source labourers from town to repair these infrastructure,” he said, adding despite the bad side as a result of good heavy rain, farmers are optimistic about a great future ahead. – email@example.com