$2 million to save livestock

BULAWAYO - Acting Finance minister Gorden Moyo yesterday released US$2 million to save more than half a million livestock in Matabeleland South province reeling from a severe drought.

Cattle are dying every week in Matabeleland South which is dependent on livestock farming, owing to lack of pasture and water shortages caused by the poor rains last season.

“I have just released US$2 million from Treasury to save 600 000 livestock in Matabeleland South which has been hit by severe drought,” Moyo told journalists in Bulawayo yesterday.

“The money will be used to buy stock feeds and drill more boreholes for the livestock. The loss of livestock in the area has affected the country’s beef industry as famers in that region are losing their beasts on daily basis due to drought.”

Districts in Matabeleland South which have been worst affected are Gwanda, Kezi, Mangwe and Bulilima. Farmers in the districts are losing at least 50 cattle every week.

Zimbabwe commercial farmers’ union (ZCFU) president, Donald Khumalo last week called on government to take urgent measures to save livestock in that region.

Khumalo warned that Zimbabwe could face a repeat of the 1992 situation, when over half of the national herd was wiped out by a devastating drought with Matabeleland regions being the worst affected

Most villagers in Matabeleland South are reportedly selling their cattle for as little as US$150 while others exchanged their beasts for solar panels and motor cycles for fear of losing out.

Presenting his mid-term budget review statement a fortnight ago, Finance minister Tendai  Biti said the`re was a need for mitigatory strategies in the form of supplementary feeding and relocation of cattle from drought stricken areas to areas with enough pastures in a bid to save cattle.

Zimbabwe is one of the six southern African countries hit by drought this year, leaving over 14 million people in the affected countries in need of urgent food aid. -
Pindai Dube

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