The testimonies show that the massive drop in availability of milk, butter and other animal products has not in any way been compensated for by crop-growing activities.
Milk production is so poor that Arima says not only do people drink tea now, she has been reduced to giving “tea to my calves and cows; that is why they don’t give milk”. But farming is producing yields too low and erratic to make up the food shortfall. Gurracha says they now suffer “serious food insecurity” and that the longest they go without a food problem is three or four months.
Market forces are particularly cruel in times of drought, when people often have to sell their animals to buy food for their families. This is a clear indication that they are desperate. And as Huqa points out, the price of food goes up but that of animals decreases. According to Arima, grain is three or four times more expensive during drought.
Gurracha says the government hands out “some kilos of grain” but that amount only meets families’ food requirements for about 20 days, or 30 if used very sparingly.