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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.

'Helpless' farmers watch cattle perish

By Chester Makana | Nov 24, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE drought in the far north of Limpopo is costing communal farmers hundreds of lost livestock due to a lack of grazing.

Now farmers are accusing the provincial department of agriculture of failing to help them overcome the effects of the drought.

They also accuse government officials of managing the crisis rather than implementing preventative measures.

Villagers had been trying to rescue drought-weakened livestock that can barely move.

But they become frustrated when they fail and are forced to leave them to die or have to kill the animals.

The farmers said it was a heart-breaking situation and they felt "crippled" as their livestock died while they looked on helplessly.

France Nemutanzhela, a livestock farmer, was in tears as his cows continued to die while he watched.

"It is difficult and frustrating to see the investment one has made going down the drain," Nemutanzhela said.

The relentless drought is getting worse because of global climate change that has resulted in delayed rains and a lack of information to farmers on how to manage their livestock amid climate change.

Rains that fell last week did not improve the situation head of the cold weather that followed contributed to more cattle losses because of frost.

Andries Madzivhandila blamed the government for failing to help the farmers.

"The government wants to manage the crisis. They do not want to develop communal farmers," Madzivhandila said.

According to a report by the Northern Farmers Association, more than 400 head of cattle have died because of the drought. The hardest hit area is Mutale, followed by Giyani and parts of the Waterberg.

Mutale mayor Lucas Manyuha said they were engaging with other stakeholders to help the farmers.

Agriculture department spokesperson Thembi Makhuvele said they would provide food aid to farmers.


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