A MASSIVE operation to gather fodder for emaciated livestock down south and towards the dry western areas of drought stricken Namibia is underway in the North Central region where wild grass is to be found along the road network reaching Grootfontein and Tsumeb and beyond.
Hundreds of temporary workers are harvesting and gathering these bales and bags of grass to be sold to farmers in areas where there are absolutely no grazing for staving animals, and so opening an avenue of trade on a scale never seen during any previous drought in the history of Namibia.
Travelling north between Walvis Bay and Tsumeb this week, it became obvious that a sub-trade of value and hopefully a window opportunity of a temporary nature opened up as a result of the disastrous drought presented itself. Naturally and as a consequence of Namibians’ entrepreneurial spirit, those who have to give, is supplying the have nots. And there is money to be made.
Literally hundreds of freighters on Namibia’s national roads returning from the Great Northern commercial farming area where empty trucks return to the harbour of Walvis Bay, South Africa or other parts of the south are carrying fodder on a return-freight basis to feed a very hungry and needy live stock population.
In a sight to behold everything edible along the road leading south is being harvested, baled or stuffed into mass transport bags for the market in other parts of the country where the need is dire. Farmers are desperate to haul their most valuable animals through the last days of the dry season until the early clouds of promising rain appears in the horizon. The experienced folk of yesteryear is in fact talking about such rain, reading sign in the recent cold spells and the actions of nature.
Also insightful is the adaptations that came along with the advent of drought. Boskos (using leaves and twigs of young invader bush, which robbed Namibia of millions of hectares of grazing land) has now found a useful purpose in feeding emaciated animals though a market of very effective cutting, milling and mixing farming equipment supplied by the likes of companies like Hochland Tractor of Mr. Frank van Zyl and others.
These efforts, together with a massive development in the production of charcoal in only the last year, created a revolution in agro-industry that might change the face of commercial farming in years to come.
The bottom line – even in the worst of times there is much to do, and in true Namibian spirit – you never say die!