North West farmers count their livestock losses in drought aftermath

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Communal farmers at Tseoge village in the North West Province are counting their losses in the aftermath of a crippling dry spell.

They say they are disappointed the North West government hasn’t come to their rescue after losing hundreds of their cattle, sheep and goats, as a result of drought.

They claim that government has not visited their areas to see the extent of their losses or offered any assistance.

Tseoge village is one of the 12 local areas which experienced unprecedented livestock deaths.

Locals gathered at the community hall to take stock of their losses. 149 of those present, had lost almost 3 400, livestock.

Although government was criticised for not intervening, those affected are still hoping for assistance.

Farmer’s spokesperson, Joseph Ngakanyane says, “We will be grateful as local farmers if the government can assist us with feed for our livestock.”

Tseoge and other surrounding villages are in the grip of drought and the absence of proper feed for animals. Some resorted to eating vermeerbos, and died.

At De Aar, another village, not more than 10 kilometres from Tseoge is also hit by the draught.

Losses in De Aar village, run into thousands.

Most of communal farmers, are now pinning their hopes on government assistance.

They have no means to fight this killer plant, which is also devastating their small livestock.

The North West government says it will send officials to affected areas to investigate.

Dr Thabo Mphuthi from the North West Veterinary Services says, “After confirmation that the animals are dying from Sekanama, we will be asking our officials in the district to start giving the owners what we call ‘activated charcoal’. The activated charcoal absorbs these poisons that are in the system and it will assist the animals.”

While this intervention will be welcomed by farmers, for many it will be too little too late, given their already big losses.