500 cattle dead due to drought in Zanatepec, Mexico
Bone residues of cattle, the same scattered in the cultivated fields, as stacked near a garbage dump, seems common for the peasants of Domingo Zanatepec, municipality located to the east of the Isthmus. To the farmers of the locality, the lack of water has caused the death of their cattle.
The scarcity of water due to the lack of rain in the last three years, causes dryness in the cultivated land. The grass, which in some crops has a color between yellow and brown, no longer nourishes the cows, so most of them are underweight, they are very thin.
In other areas of cultivation, even the yellow grass does not exist, the cattle, in their eagerness to mitigate their hunger, eat what they find in their path, land, if possible. “To a cattle that we found dead, dissecting the skin and they were pure bones, we noticed that the animal ate a complete hammock, and that is that they are hungry and they eat whatever it is”, explained Margot Nolasco Rojas, president of the Livestock Association Place of Zanatepec.
“It is quite critical, we do not have pastures that can eat the cattle, we are suffering because we have no way to feed them and they are practically dying. We have more than 500 dead cattle, we are talking about the months of February, March and what goes of April, and still what is missing, although it rains in May, if not, until June. “
To Margot, 50 cattle from February to date have died. And he says that “it is not a story” and invited the state and federal authorities to go to the eastern part of the Isthmus, mainly in Zanatepec, to make field trips and see reality. “It’s the graveyard of cattle.”
In a tour of the fields of cultivation, you can find the skeletal remains of animals that died of hunger and thirst. Cows, one by one, are falling through the drought. “This grass fills them but it does not nourish them, it’s fiber, it does not help much.”
“We want an urgent program to help our animals not die, we do not want money, we want pasture for our cows. It is a difficult time, because if there are no livestock, we say there is no meat, no milk or cheese, this is cyclical. The situation is worrying, “said Margot.
Aurelio Sánchez Velásquez, community farmer, reported the death of 30 cows and a stallion. “The bony cows came down in price. The cattle walk a lot to go get water, it is annihilated and that is hitting us very hard, I have 30 dead cows and a bull stallion.
In the eastern part of the Isthmus, where sorghum, sesame, maize, mango and papaya are planted, it has not rained since September last year, and in the last three years the rains have been plundered, which strikes the sector Agricultural, and livestock.
Aurelio Sánchez has spent the last few months collecting skeletal remains of cattle killed by drought, and stacked them in a vacant lot.
Livestock farmers in the area depend directly on the rain, and in the last three years it has not rained enough. The last recorded rain in the area was in August of last year.
The Regional Livestock Union of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec reported more than 1,500 head of cattle killed by drought in the entire region, ranging from Zanatepec, Juchitán, Santa María Xadani, La Ventosa, among other localities.
The peasants, who plant corn, sorghum, sesame, among other grains and fruits, are also suffering from lack of water.
In Barrio Lieza, in the municipality of Tehuantepec, peasants pack grain sorghum for sale to affected farmers. In an arduous work of eight hours under an inclement sun, they raise about 20 bales to sell at 25 pesos each.
Miguel Jimenez, a local farmer, predicted a difficult season for farmers. “There is no water in the dam, there is no hope that it rains a lot, but we will all sow every plant and God first raised some harvest.”
Don Miguel and his brother Fidel plant maize and sorghum in their fields. They depend directly on the dam to irrigate their land, but it is dry.
The drought also has an impact on the production of sorghum, an activity that is carried out by 70 percent of the peasants in the region of the Isthmus. Carlos Vásquez López, president of the State Council of Sorghum Producers said in the past three years have been losses due to rainfall, and producers have not even been able to recover investment from past plantings.
In the entire region of the Isthmus there are lands available for planting about 20 thousand hectares, although in view of the precarious situation and uncertainty among peasants, only about 15 thousand hectares could be planted, said Carlos Vásquez, who recalled that in 2013, 17 thousand hectares, in 2014, 16 thousand hectares, in 2015 were planted 14 thousand hectares of sorghum and in 2016 were 14 thousand hectares, that is, with the passage of the years, the production is decreasing.
Courtesy of imparcialoaxaca.mx