Starving to death

Dairy farmer Hemant Kumar has to travel miles to graze his cattles at Nadelei in Tavua. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

FIFTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD Hemant Kumar has lost two calves and fears that others in his herd may not survive if there is no rain soon.

The Nadelei, Tavua, farmer begins his day before sunrise to search for pasture to feed his 30 cows.

“It’s getting worse now because of the dry weather,” he said. “Every day I start at 5am and then I come back home at 8 or 9 o’clock at night. “I have no land to graze my cattle so I have to take them to a place where they can find food.”

He said without the much-needed supplement for his cows, his business took a huge hit.

“If my milking cows are not eating then they won’t be able to produce milk. If they are not producing milk, I won’t be able to meet my daily supply.”

He said young calves had fallen victim to the extreme heat.

“I’ve already lost two calves. They couldn’t get enough milk because their mothers were not producing enough milk. I have between 30 and 40 cows that I have to make sure are eating and drinking water every day. But it’s getting harder every day because our pastures are drying up.”

He said his daily 20-litre supply quota had dropped over the past few months.

“The highest I have been able to collect is 18 litres. I can’t produce 20 litres anymore. Not when my cows are not getting the food they need.”

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