The heavy drought burden facing farmers in the Eastern and Northern Cape has taken its toll and even led to the suicide of at least two farmers.
Pietermaritzburg-based aid organisation Gift of the Givers said this week that it had been a period of great distress for many farmers and animals in Northern and Eastern Cape for several months.
They had been assisting the farmers with fodder, among other necessities.
“Recently, a farmer and his wife tried to ‘rescue’ 157 ‘abandoned’ calves whose mothers were too weak and malnourished to nurture their offspring. Only eight survived. The farmer wanted to commit suicide. Two months ago a farmer shot himself. The chances of this recurring is very real as farmers are at their wits end unable to provide for their animals and by extension, their families, as they watch their prized animals disappearing in their presence with each passing day.”
They said that the farmers were “totally helpless” and were losing hope rapidly.