WINDHOEK – More than 100 southern farmers have applied for emergency drought fodder via the privately initiated emergency forage scheme.
The scheme was launched a fortnight ago by Henriëtte le Grange and immediately benefitted 16 crippled farmers.
Southern farms are turning into dustbowls and owners are scraping the bottom of the barrel with finances at a critical all-time low. Eleven more farmers received some 500 bales of lucerne and pellets last week when the second road haul from the Grootfontein area to the Leonardville was made. Sixteen down and out farmers from Keetmanshoop, Grunau, Koes, Bethanie, Karasburg and Aroab have now received emergency fodder. Coordinator Le Grange says it is just the start of a massive effort to keep these farmers on their land.
Many farmers have reached rock bottom after battling with five consecutive years of drought, escalating forage prices and a sheep export scheme that has failed most. The situation is causing many to question their future on the land. The private package from Le Grange and friends has been welcomed but in the words of a local farmer, “it barely touches the sides”.
Most of these farmers are raising children while dealing with the stress of years without substantial rain and bills from trucking in food for their sheep and cattle have ruined well over 100 farmers.
“There’s just no income. Whatever the farm is making is going back into feed for whatever they have left,” she says. “We have accumulated funds to help some 40 farmers but urgently need donations to reach out to as many as possible farmers,” she laments.
Some farmers reported that small stock ewes are abandoning their lambs because the dry veld and lack of food have reduced their ability to produce enough milk. Some say they have up to 30 orphaned lambs that must be hand-fed. It is so desperate that some farmers feed their sheep a mixture of cotton seed and expired baby food to add nutrition for their struggling animals.
“It’s a never-ending story at the moment,” Le Grange says. “Every week there’s a chance of some sort of rain but when it happens, it’s usually one or two mils, which does nothing,” she comments.
Le Grange says these farmers are financially below their borderline now.
Farmers destocked as much as possible early on, as it got worse and worse, but what they are left with now is pretty much unsaleable in the condition they’re in.
“Should the four horsemen of the Apocalypse pass this way, the hooves of their magnificent steeds will surely make no impression on the ground. The clatter of the hooves will echo around the desperate landscape like music calling the people to their final rest,” one farmer said. And one cannot sum it up better than this.
Donations can be made to the Namibia Farmers Donation Fund. The banking details are Bank Windhoek, Maerua Mall, branch code 483 872 and the account number is 8004586880. Forms to apply for drought aid can be obtained from Le Grange via WhatsApp at 0811249670.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-12 12:22:02 | 1 years ago