More than a thousand cows have died from drought in Olanchito

Michael Taylor

Global Courant

Cows with their dead calves at the edge of the pastures. dry grasses. Dehydrated trees. empty pools That is the bleak picture in Olanchito, Yorowhere hundreds of farmers see how their animals die from lack of food as a result of the severe drought.

The LA PRENSA Premium team toured these communities hit by high temperatures and lack of rain, the most obvious consequence of which is the death of thousands of head of cattle.

The scenario is so critical that in barely two months the Society of Farmers and Ranchers of Olanchito (sago) recorded until last week the death of 1,138 cows. This figure is directly linked to another statistic that raises alarms: milk production has dropped by a 70 percentaccording to Sago.

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Without precedents

Juan José Molina, vice president of Sago, expressed that they are experiencing an unprecedented situation not only in the municipality of Olanchito, but also in all the regions affected by the drought. He indicated that they are surviving in the production areas with the little water that other farmers give them.

400
Ranchers are associated with Sago in Olanchito, but there is another large number not affiliated that is experiencing the same crisis.

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“We are extremely concerned because it is not known what will happen and it is discouraging because the El Niño phenomenon They are talking about entering June and we come from six months of summer, “said Molina. El Niño is already formally present in Honduras, according to experts.

Ranchers face a major complication: there is no recovery of grass, no water… “neither to irrigate corn fields nor fodder pastures,” he said.

The worst is yet to come, but for the last two months the increasing mortality of cows has been witnessed. For ranchers, it has been normal to face three or four months of dry season, but its prolongation represents a bigger problem.

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According to forecasts, El Niño will last until the end of August or September of this year, being most intense from July 10 to August 28 (the heatwave period).

He stressed that milk production has dropped by 70 percent, because the cattle are not being fed correctly and many of the farmers who take the product to the collection centers have lost many cattle.

The Sago leaders reported that they were trying to define a support strategy for the most affected ranchers, for which they requested support from the government. Although government officials were slow to make an inspection to see the situation, they promised help.

Mortality

Olanchito, despite the situation they are experiencing, is not among the 85 municipalities that the government declared a yellow alert due to drought, which worries ranchers, because they know they will not get quick help.

Livestock mortality has been reported in the sectors of Santa Barbara, El Nance, San Jeronimo, San Lorenzo and San Dimaslocated in Down Valleyas far as LA PRENSA Premium came.

“Look at this cow, she’s going to die, her neck is swollen and she’s having difficulty breathing,” says rancher Asdruval Bustillo, while taking a tour with the journalistic team through one of the pastures in the community of Santa Bárbara.

Bustillo affirmed that in the pastures there is an urgent need for wells to extract water, but an investment of about two hundred thousand lempiras is needed for each one, a high figure in the midst of an emergency. During the tour it was observed that some farmers have tried to drill, but it has been impossible for them to extract the vital liquid, because they require machines with more capacity and have not been able to extract water.

Always in the Olanchito cattle corridor, near the community of San José, Don Alirio Rogel guided twelve cows. As he herded the cattle, he indicated that he had to walk several kilometers in order to find some green grass.

“I saw the pile of cows that have died in Valle Arriba, they don’t have water or food, I at least look for them here some vegetables, but he didn’t let them eat plastic,” he said. Faced with the problem, representatives of international organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have made tours in the cattle-raising area and have met with municipal leaders and authorities.

The mayor of Olanchito, Juan Carlos Molina, said that the government is falling short in the face of a phenomenon of which the Secretary of Agriculture and Livestock (Sag) was aware, but they do not see the presence of anything. Although they have seen the support of the SAG in the municipalities of the dry corridor, he recalled that the crisis in the Aguán region is the same.

1,138
cows have died in the last two months in Olanchito, according to the report that the ranchers gave to the government.

Cattle mortality is not limited to Olanchito. In Jocón, Arenal, and Sabá, the cows are dying “and as mayors we feel helpless, because it is not an easy issue for us, because with municipal funds it is impossible to give them the support they need now.”

“We ask the cooperating countries for help, because in the Aguán region we are suffering from drought, we have a crisis in drinking water, in water for irrigation where we support agriculture and livestock, and an energy crisis,” he emphasized.

While that help arrives, the farmers have no choice but to wait under the dry trees -which no longer provide shade-, seeing how long their animals survive.

keys

1. Declare alert in the livestock corridor: Local organizations and authorities point out that the region was left out of the list of the 85 municipalities on green alert due to the drought, as they fear that accessing aid will be more difficult if there is no declaration of emergency.

2. Cattle feed: In the short term, the ranchers of Olanchito have asked the government to provide them with feed for the cattle, buying it in other countries, as they affirm that in Honduras it has run out because the summer has been prolonged and the pastures and corn crops have dried up. in the zone.

3. Well drilling: There is the option of drilling wells on farms and farms, but not all ranchers have the funds, since a solar panel system is required, which is very expensive for them, so they have raised the possibility of supporting the government in that line.

More than a thousand cows have died from drought in Olanchito

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