Songs of praises and tearful prayers flowed as parts of the drought-stricken Free State received a long-awaited rain on Monday.
Farmers in parts of the free state could not with hold their joy as their almost endless prayers for the end of drought in the state was answered. “Hierdie boervrou se trane het klaar die reënmeter vol [This farmer’s wife’s tears have already filled the rain gauge],” wrote Annelize le Roux on the Facebook page Boere in Nood (Farmers in Need).
Members of the Boere in Nood (Farmers in Need) group have been tirelessly hauling hay and other cattle feed to farmers who have already resorted to feeding mielies that died on the stalk to their starving animals.
Morne Myburgh posted a video clip of rain on the Winburg-Senekal road, saying “Praise God”
Meanwhile, NC Schoombie, who is one of the organizers of the initiative, had expressed his dissatisfaction on the role played by the government in helping commercial farmers in distress, focusing instead on up and coming emerging farmers with a R114m donation in KwaZulu-Natal.
Hence, the farmers’ wives started rallying those who were in a position to help. So far, they have helped 400 farmers in seven provinces. NC Schoombie said “cows eat to regulate their temperature and if they don’t eat, they can’t keep themselves cool on the hot ground. So if it doesn’t have the energy to cool down, it just can’t carry on.”
Schoombie went further to state that only 3% of mielie farmers in drought-stricken areas had planted this season, and those who had planted had watched it go to seed once it had reached waist height. Hay and alfalfa donations were said to be arriving at the organizers’ depot in Bloemfontein from the Eastern and Western Cape, and from areas where farmers had irrigated fields.
The group had received donations of around R1.8m and was using the money to pay for diesel, truck rental, and to buy feed where it was being sold cheap. Recording artists have also pledged to help the group out in sourcing out funds for the farmers.
According to him, even though the R114m provided for the emerging farmers was a drop in the ocean, it is better than to neglecting them like the government had.
“We are trying to help the struggling commercial farmers – the guys have the experience. The up-and-coming farmers, the government must keep an eye on them.”
“We are just a few farmers that are sticking together. But we are going to get stronger.”
The group had earlier calculated that they would need 55 000 bales of hay to help everybody who had reached out to them so far.
On Monday, they got news that the company Legal wise was going to provide R200 000 and make two lawyers available to help battling farmers. The Red Meat Producers Organisation was also making donations from time to time.