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Zim loses livestock to drought

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Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri has said Zimbabwe continues to lose a lot of livestock due to recurrent droughts.

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA

Speaking at the 13th session of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in China yesterday, Muchinguri said in one of the droughts, the country lost 20 000 cattle. She said the number of people affected by drought increased from about 700 000 in 1982 to about 2,1 million in 2010 and 2012.

“The 2016 winter wheat production under irrigation was reduced from 135 metric tonnes to 20 metric tonnes due to rationing of electricity since the levels of water for hydropower generation had been affected by drought,” she said.

“The period 1980 to 1990, cereal yields declined from an average of 1 to 1,4 tonnes per hectare and 0,7 t/ha between 2009 and 2013 due to drought.”

She said that some agro-ecological regions were shifting from wetter to drier regions, and, as a result, food-producing agro-ecological regions of Zimbabwe, had shrunk, while the drier regions had increased, resulting in water scarcity and shortage of firewood.

Muchinguri said women and children in these regions had been the most affected, as they bore the brunt of degraded ecosystems since 80 to 90% of the rural people depended on wood fuel.

“Due to scarcity of these resources, women and children, especially the girl child, often travel long distances and children abscond school,” she said.

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