Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Mat South Begins Supplementary Cattle Feeding

Mat South Begins Supplementary Cattle Feeding

9 Jul 2015
cattle-farmers

Zimbabwe currently has a national cattle herd of 5,3 million, down from nearly six million cattle in 1996.

Mandla Tshuma

BULAWAYO — Cattle farmers in the drought prone province of Matabeleland South have started giving supplementary feeding to their livestock to avoid their deterioration due to depleting pastures.
There is fear that livestock could die in the same manner as was the case during a devastating drought which ravaged the province in the 2012-2013 season which left over 9 000 cattle dead.
Matabeleland South last month completed its latest livestock assessment programme, which revealed cattle condition had gone down.
These assessment programmes are carried out regularly and as and when funding becomes available.
The province’s chief livestock specialist, Simangaliphi Ngwabi, told the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets this week that they concluded their latest assessment on June 24 and a report was being compiled.
“Farmers in areas such as Beitbridge have started supplementary feeding schemes for their cattle as livestock condition is deteriorating in the province,” disclosed Ngwabi.
“Pastures are decimating very fast and Beitbridge is the hardest hit district.”
She challenged farmers in other districts to embark on supplementary feeding for their livestock before they deteriorate further.
She said water had also become scarce in areas such as Gwanda South but said no animal deaths had been recorded to date.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) Matabeleland South Livestock chairperson, Clement Malaba, concurred with Ngwabi, saying the situation was becoming dire in the province.
“The drought in Matabeleland South is very critical and if nothing happens now, by end of September cattle will be dying; there will certainly be casualties,” said Malaba.
“The most affected areas are Bulilima, Mangwe, Matobo, Gwanda South and Insiza South and what we are now looking forward to is for those farmers who are able to feed their cattle to start this very month,” said Malaba.
He said it was pointless for farmers to wait until cattle lose weight and then start feeding them when they were about to die.
“Farmers are doing all sorts of things to ensure their cattle survive. The government must also give us grass-cutting equipment to enable us to take the grass to where the cattle are, making it accessible to farmers.
Malaba, who is also a board member for the Mangwe Farmers Association, said his association had since entered into a partnership with Agrifoods to deliver supplementary feeding from Bulawayo to farmers in different areas across the district at Bulawayo factory prices.
“We are also urging other stakeholders like abattoirs, to also chip in and help farmers. It is not good for abattoirs to rip off farmers of their cattle for a song,” said Malaba.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) national livestock chairperson, Irene Maphenduka, who called for investment in the livestock sector, said although cattle were likely to lose weight before the onset of the rainy season, in Matabeleland North, they were still in good condition.
“We have gone for a long time without meaningful investment in the livestock sector. We need seed stocking; we need investors to come in so that CSC (Cold Storage Company) could be revived,” she said.
In February, Deputy Agriculture Minister responsible for livestock, Paddy Zhanda, said government did not have money to support growth of the national cattle herd and urged farmers to seek private partners for support.
Zimbabwe currently has a national cattle herd of 5,3 million, down from nearly six million cattle in 1996.
Farmers have called on government to avail funds to support the revival of the sector.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
WhatsApp

New Posts: