MUTARE - Despite villagers in drought-ravaged Musikavanhu area in Chipinge District are being forced to sell their ailing livestock at giveaway prices of as little as $30 — as they seek to salvage the little they can.
Zimbabwe is going through an arid spell and there are fears that more livestock could die as the effects of climate change wreak havoc across the country.
Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami told the Daily News that because of the dry spell, some cattle are being sold for as low as $30.
“Cattle have been dying for four to five months now and desperate villagers are now selling some of the cattle for as little as $30. Cattle traders are flocking in to buy the cattle which they would feed before transporting,” Mutseyami said
Under normal circumstances, a beast is sold for at least $400 but now with villagers scared of being left with carcasses, any price can do.
“Government was our major let-down because of its lack of resources. As MP, I approached the minister of Agriculture, Joseph Made back in January, pleading with him for government to buy off the cattle and stock elsewhere then restock the area when conditions permit but nothing was done,” said Mutseyami.
Mutseyami said although government has now introduced a stock feeding programme it is a bit late.
“The programme came late and the feeds are not sufficient. They are being bought off within a day and many villagers continue to lose their cattle,” Mutseyami said.
He said while the country was bracing for its first clear drought owing to the El Nino phenomenon, his constituency is getting into a third straight year of erratic rains, poor yields and poor grazing lands.
“The only river that is still flowing is Save. The situation is now desperate,” Mutseyami said.