By Donna Collins
THE tragic stories told of the three-year drought and how it has impacted on Namibian farmers and their livestock has made grown men cry. Rehoboth cattle farmer Martin Wiese is one of them.
Farmers rich and poor are battling to survive one of the worst droughts in history, and the scale of dead and dying animals has reached epic proportions, so much so that Wiese has embarked on a mercy mission of saving the lives of horses and feeding starving livestock in his farming district.
Emaciated cows, donkeys and horses coming from the north and other parts of the country in search of grazing, he said are left to roam and eventually die of hunger; and describing the situation to the Confidente as a “living nightmare”, Wiese said that he could not turn a blind eye to the suffering, and a few months ago started distributing bales of fodder for cows and other animals along the roadside.
“I can’t tell you what we are going through,” said the saddened farmer, who says he has a soft spot for horses, and has already rescued 15 horses that were dying on the roadside, and has taken them back to his farm. He is providing them with food, water and veterinary care, and by the end of the week he will have loaded a few more that are too weak to stand.
“The farmers in the area don’t have money for their animals, so a few months ago I started throwing bales out on the roadside, because I cannot just watch them die,” said Wiese, who has posted the plight of the Rehoboth drought horses on his Facebook page, with a plea for people to send in funds to assist with donations and fodder.
“I am also struggling in these times, and the cost of feeding livestock is expensive, as any farmer will tell you,” he said. “Ten bales will feed three cows, which is already over N$1 000, so while I am holding out for the rains to come, I am hoping that more people can contribute food towards these animals.
“The situation is hell, and many farmers are chasing the cows away because they need grazing for their own animals. Also the police stepped in because of roaming cattle on the roads, which has already caused accidents. “You must come and see this nightmare with your own eyes to believe the scale of death. It is hot as hell here, and the vultures are sitting in the trees, not even waiting until an animal is dead before they start feasting. I don’t know if I will ever be the same after this drought.”
Wiese claims that now is the time for farmers who are still doing okay to reach out to the struggling farmers to keep their animals alive. He claims that the drought is depressing for everyone, but is pleading with commercial farmers throughout the country to pool resources and to help where they can.
“Farmers could hold community meetings, to make plans for food drop-offs and water points, because we need to come together in some way, it is just horrible to turn your back on cattle near starvation, when you could actually load a trailer full of food and water and help. ”
Wiese said that donations in the form of grass bales, Lucerne, horse feed can be
dropped off at Auas Stables for collection. He can be contacted at 08122272378.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015