ONGWEDIVA – Rain in the northern regions came as a relief to many farmers whose livestock have been decimated by the persistent drought.
Some of the farmers were compelled to halt livestock farming because their livestock have already perished in the heat.
And while some still have a minimal herd, others are only left with single beasts with which they intend to increase their stock.
Before the rains over the weekend farmers were praying for rain to save their surviving livestock.
Although government as part of its drought relief mitigation efforts also gave farmers animal feed, some of the farmers New Era interacted with said they have not received anything.
To receive assistance the government was asking of farmers to scale down their stock to at least 25 cattle and one bull.
New Era in September reported that 30 000 cattle have died this year as a result of drought.
Selma Kronelius Amadhila of Egundjilo village in Okaku constituency is only left with one animal after all the others died.
Desperate times call for desperate measures
To mitigate the drought Amadhila even went to the extreme of stripping her traditional huts in order to feed her cattle but that did not help either.
“I had no choice, I do not have money to buy any feed hence I used the grass and mahangu stalks on the hut to feed the cattle,” elaborated Amadhila.
As is evident in many areas, there is no sight of grass anywhere.
And the situation is the same for many villages in the north.
Tomas Shaalukeni is also amongst those who only have a few cattle left.
“I stopped counting because every other day there is one that has died. Even today I’m left with one fighting for its life,” said Shaalukeni.
Although animal feed is absent, many areas now have water from the first rains in October.
As a result of the downpours many earth dams are full and could last the farmers a while before they dry out again.
Although there is water for now, farmers at Egundjilo are requesting that the government help them build a community animal trough.