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‘Grazing crisis a national disaster’


Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Donald Khumalo has called on the government to declare the shortage of pasture a national disaster to enable well-wishers to intervene and save the national herd in drought-stricken parts of Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

Addressing guests during the official opening of a stockfeed centre in Bulawayo on Friday evening, Khumalo said most farmers in the region had lost large herds of livestock because of the drought.
The stockfeed centre project was spearheaded by the director of Bopam Marketing, Singazi Nduna.

“Matabeleland South has been affected by the increase in livestock diseases. There is also the problem of water. Furthermore, government has not declared the livestock problem as a national disaster and because of this, we need to cry with one voice until it is declared, so that we are able to get funding,” said Khumalo.

“In Matabeleland South, there are about 460 000 livestock and about 500 000 livestock in Matabeleland North, which brings this number to about one million beasts in the region,” he said, adding his organisation had started courting non-governmental organisations to intervene.

On Saturday, some farmers in Beitbridge said they had driven their livestock to Gwanda where they are being asked to barter a beast in exchange for grazing land. The farmers appealed to the government ranch operators in the Nuanetsi Ranch area to allow them to graze their cattle.

Speaking at the same function, Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, who is one of the leading ranchers in the Matabeleland region, said the Agriculture ministry had started cutting grass from other provinces to feed livestock in Matabeleland.

“Cattle are dying and this is such a big problem in Matabeleland South. However, people need to start working hard. I recently engaged the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture on this matter and as we speak, they have started cutting grass in a move to assist livestock in Matabeleland.”

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