“We see all these dead cows in the field because of the drought we are going through,” farmer Hicterio Torres Franco said as he looked at dead cows and donkeys. The on-going drought in Mexico is killing his animals.
He’s struggling to keep his animals alive in the state of Chihuahua in one of the worst droughts Mexico has seen in thirty years. His animals, donkeys and cow, are deprived of water.
Nineteen of his cows have died because there’s not enough water to fill dams. Surviving cows are bony, with their ribs sticking out.
“The dam is at its lowest levels, and when the cows go there to drink water, they get stuck. These (dead) cows have become stuck, others because of drought, disease, and hunger, they are weak and unable to sustain themselves,” Franco said.
According to official data, only 10% of Mexico’s dams are now full, with many seeing levels drop below half or lower.
In July, Mexico experienced its second hottest month since 1953, with temperatures reaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 Fahrenheit), and farmers, who don’t have access to groundwater, have struggled to keep their animals alive.
“The drought we have had for several years has been severe. There is no support from the state or the federal government, no support at all. Before, they used to support us with fodder such as corn,” Franco said.
“As farmers, we do not have the capacity, especially since we’ve been battling severe drought for some years. We do not have enough capital, so we need support,” farmer Jose Loera said. “We need them (government) to finance the irrigation system, which is the best way to make the most of the water we have.”
Water experts have been increasingly vocal about the risks to remote farming areas. “In some states, irrigation is practically disappearing due to lack of rainfall,” Rafael Sanchez, who works at the Autonomous University of Chapingo, said.