Eastern Cape faces worst drought in years

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The debilitating drought in the Eastern Cape has seriously impacted on poor rural villagers and seasonal farm workers.
Flocks of grazing animals have succumbed to the lack of food. Farmers are facing a massive economic crisis and relief is being sent from other provinces.

Affected areas have had the lowest rainfall in 107 years.

“You still have to live, you still have to eat and sometimes workers come to you and ask can you pay us more and you can’t pay them more than minimum wage because there is no money. We don’t make any money at the moment, ” said farmer Juan Niemand.

The NGO “Droogte Hulp” has donated maize and fodder to farmers.

“At this moment we don’t have water on our farm. We have over 40 years been living without water and relying on nature and other farms but today I am so grateful for the help that we are receiving because when the mielies are ready I get them from a farmer called John but we are all battling and he gives us 6 – 8 bags full,” said another farmer, Willie Hector.

Since the initial call for drought aid was raised in early September, truckloads of grass bales have been delivered to struggling farmers across the country.

“Since then we have delivered more than 800 trucks of maize and fodder to farmers in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Southern Cape and Western Cape,” said founder ofDroogte Hulp Burre Burger.

Farmworkers are feeling the knock on effect.

“I  just want to say thank you for the sponsor for the mielies because the white farmers are really suffering so this will help them feed their animals with this ongoing drought, even the animals will be happy,” adds farm worker, Elton Plaatjies.

The Eastern Cape accounts for a third of all livestock in the country. The region produces more than 50 percent of the world’s mohair.

Farmers have now been forced to sell off their surplus animals.