Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Livestock Farmers Unhappy With Budget

Livestock Farmers Unhappy With Budget

11 Dec 2014

cattle-farmersCATTLE farmers in Matabeleland have criticised the insignificant budgetary allocation to the livestock sector in the 2015 national budget, saying it was unlikely to reinvigorate the sector.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa unveiled his 2015 budget a fortnight ago. Chinamasa allocated US$1 million for animal health and welfare. Last year, Chinamasa allocated US$2 million to the sector, which was also dismissed as inadequate.

Chinamasa said priority would be given to programmes that seek to improve cattle dipping, vaccination of animals as well as animal disease surveillance. Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) national livestock chairperson, Irene Maphenduka, said farmers had expected an improved allocation considering that the Ministry of Agriculture now had a deputy Minister solely responsible for livestock, something they had thought was an indication government valued the sector.

“US$1 million is too little and we are very disappointed as livestock farmers; I don’t want to lie to you, we are not happy at all,” she told the Financial Gazette.

She said it was sad that the budget was also silent on the restocking programme. “We understand that the government has no money but we are saying the little that we have should go towards restocking,” Maphenduka said.

Ndabezinhle Ndlovu, a cattle rancher in Insiza, Matabeleland South, also said US$1 million could only cover one district. He said livestock production was not only about dipping cattle but involved a lot of issues that require significant funding. “As far as I know, we have always had budgets every year, but the problem has been implementation,” Ndlovu said.

Under smallholder livestock support, Chinamasa said co-operating partners through the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had set aside US$9, 2 million to support the sector. In 2015, only US$2 million of that amount would be disbursed, targeting 20 000 households in Lupane and Nkayi in Matabeleland North Province.

The programme aims at developing a more productive smallholder livestock sector, increasing food, nutrition and income security through commercialisation of the sector.

Maphenduka said a similar programme should be extended to commercial farmers, arguing their cattle numbers had dwindled in size. “There is no more big farmer; we are now just commercial farmers by name,” she said.

While Maphenduka appreciated the assistance from donors in the livestock sector, she challenged government to be innovative in supporting agriculture. “We can’t always wait for outsiders to come and help us because they can only come at their own time and with certain conditions,” she added. – Mandla Tshuma


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