'We have to keep going' - Free State farmer

(Supplied to News24)
(Supplied to News24)

Bloemfontein – After weeks of no rain, a commercial farmer from Bultfontein in the Free State has taken a leap of faith and started planting mielies, sunflowers and fodder.

“God has been good to us this week, and he has given us a chance to plant,” said farmer Michris Janse van Rensburg after some rain fell.

“Before the rain, I felt like my mind was not working at all and I was just stressed out at the possibility of not planting anything at all."  

The 41-year-old said although it was too late to plant, the least he could do was to plant for his livestock.  

“I am breaking a lot of planting rules for even attempting to plant now, but I have to try, so that I can provide for my livestock. I will be planting a lot of fodder to last my livestock for the whole winter period, and with the rain we have received it will definitely work out,” he said. 

So far he had received about 40mm of rain.    

“It is still not enough for the drought. We still need a lot of rain.”   

On Wednesday, Janse van Rensburg said while he was on his way to his maize field, his tractor got stuck in the mud. Because he was so happy about the rain, he got it out with a smile. 

(Supplied to News24)

“The drought has really hit all of us. It is quite hard to keep on going because we all felt the pain.”

He said that since his close friend, Eastern Cape farmer Krisjan Kruger, 34, committed suicide, farmers had started supporting each other. 

“Our families are always watching us, and as farmers we decided to offer each other some moral support. I wish he could be here to see the rain as well.”

Kruger committed suicide on December 29, a day before it rained in the Eastern Cape, his close friend Jacques Roodt, told News24 at the time

"We are currently experiencing the worst drought in years and it was hard for him to wake up and see his dry land. He lived and gave his life for this land and he eventually crashed," said Roodt.

Meanwhile, Weather SA forecaster Lebogang Mashile said a few weeks of rainfall was unlikely to break the prolonged drought. 

Mashile said there was an 80% chance of rain for the western and southern parts of Free State, and a 60% chance of rain in the northern parts of the province on Friday. 

On Saturday and Sunday, the province could expect a 60% chance of thundershowers in the western, southern and northern parts, she said.

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