City residents to cut BCM grass as feed for desperate farmers
The recent summer rains in Buffalo City have provided welcome relief.
While water restrictions remain in place, the showers have at least greened parched gardens and allowed residents, fortunate enough to own tanks, to collect rainwater.
Yet many parts of the province continue to struggle. Areas such as Makhanda, Port Alfred, Graaff-Reinet and the Amathole district try to adapt to life under Day Zero, but it is no easy task, particularly for farmers in these areas.
Buffalo City by comparison is an oasis. The water may not be falling in the catchment areas, but the steady rain has caused grass to grow rapidly.
And that gave local resident Deoni Barnard an idea.
Having recently seen a Carte Blanche insert on the impact of the drought on Eastern Cape farmers, it struck her that this grass could be used to feed their animals.
“There’s long grass all over town which the municipality hasn’t managed to cut. Animals are dying because they have nothing to eat, so I thought why not find a way where we can cut the grass ourselves and donate it to farmers,” Barnard said.
Working through Ria Posthumus of local charity organisation Project Hope and Beacon Bay DA ward councillor Marion Mackley, Barnard has now turned her small idea into an initiative that could yield important results.
On Saturday February 1, she and other residents, armed with lawnmowers and weed eaters, will tackle a section of land near the Batting Bridge picnic site.
“Anyone who can help cut the grass is invited. We have organised a truck which will then take the grass up to the Beacon Bay dump site,” Barnard said.
“Farmers can then come to the dump and collect the grass for their animals. We want to get the word out there to farmers.”
While it is still early days, Barnard believes the initiative has huge potential.
“Other wards could then start doing the same thing, and then it could go beyond Buffalo City.”
All Barnard asks is that once farmers have collected their grass, they sift through it to ensure no foreign or dangerous objects have been caught up as these obviously could prove dangerous to their animals.
Mackley said the initiative could not have come at a more important time.
“There are a lot of people thinking about the drought, but so far there haven’t been any real solutions. This is a simple idea that can make a real difference,” she said.
“We are asking farmers to come forward to collect the grass from the tip. The tip manager has set aside an area for the grass, and he will help the farmers load it onto their trucks.”
Members of the public wanting to join the initiative can contact Deoni Barnard on 081-515-9378.