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Farmers helped in the hour of their most desperate need

Farmers helped in the hour of their most desperate need

Niël Terblanché

Tears of thankfulness flowed freely as eleven heavy road transport trucks loaded with much needed fodder for animals arrived at different farmers unions to be distributed to those farmers who simply cannot continue to keep their animals alive any longer.
Still, in the hour of their most desperate need, some farmers in southern Namibia allowed others to benefit from the godsend before them simply because of the good rains that fell last weekend. The rain brought hope of new life on their farms for a desperate farming community.
Werner Kruger, operations manager at Kaap Agri in Namibia, said the company approached bigger businesses in Namibia to see if a helping hand could not be held out to people who faces ruin because of the drought.
“It was extremely heart warming to see big companies such as Pupkewitz Holdings come on board and donate money to acquire the much needed fodder from other farmers in the country who are still able to supply it. Several transport companies donated their vehicles to transport some of the fodder from the north to Mariental from where it was distributed to the different farmers unions.”
Kruger said most of the fodder was acquired from the Hardap Irrigation Scheme but the logistic involved required the assistance of several people with the ability to transport the bulky bales of fodder.
“People and companies responded overwhelmingly. We even had the assistance of the Vivo energy Namibia generously sponsored a large portion of the diesel for the trucks and that enabled us to buy the fodder and distribute it to those farmers in dire straits.”
A\ccording to Kruger they were able to buy roughly 5 000 bales of fodder of different kinds at a cost of almost half a million dollars. It took eleven heavy road transport trucks to transport the animal feed to the distribution points.
Another person involved with private initiative who witnessed the convoy of trucks as they left the premises where the fodder was gathered before distribution on Thursday said tears of thankfulness flowed freely even more so when the trucks arrived at the farmers unions.
“But this is how I know the people of our country. We always help each other in any way we can.,”
Kruger said he has already started with the process to help more desperate farmers.
“It is extremely difficult to choose who would benefit from these generous donations, but we plan to acquire more fodder and to distribute it to other farmers in other parts of the country. The people in the south are those that need immediate help. The entire project sadly depends on the generosity of those people who are willing to donate towards the cause.”
The Namibia Agricultural Union along with the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers Union met with the Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in the first week of February to discuss possible assistance for farmers. 
According to NAU Executive Manager, Roelie Venter, the agriculture minister received the joint action plan with various possible solutions to assist farmers decimated by the severe drought in good spirit.
“The Minister told us he is aware of the urgency of the matter and that Namibia is currently facing a national crisis. He promised to make a presentation in this regard to Cabinet at the soonest possible opportunity”
According to a statement by the NAU at the beginning of February, the severity and impact of the drought will be far worse than previously expected because no significant rain has fallen in the country and very little feed is left locally to keep farm animals alive.

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