FARMERS in Gwanda have told Parliament that they are against the commercial slaughter of donkeys, as that would deprive them of their major source of draught power.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Christopher Chitindi told Southern Eye yesterday that farmers from Gwanda had voiced concern over the proposed introduction of a donkey abattoir, as that would derail their farming activities.
“People in Gwanda were clear that they are against the slaughter of donkeys, as they are using donkeys for draught power,” Chitindi said.
“They said there are very few donkeys at the moment and if the government allows their slaughter, then, it will affect farming.”
In Harare, during the 2018 pre-budget consultations, an economist in the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council, Reneth Mano told MPs that the government must be wary of problems of donkey rustling, which might be created by introduction of a donkey abattoir.
“The Agriculture minister Joseph Made recently issued a statement about investment in a donkey abattoir without looking at whether we have enough donkeys to supply the abattoir with 2 500 donkeys per month.
“The investor came from Botswana, where he was chased away, and our fear is that this might promote rustling of donkeys, which will be stolen for slaughter and Parliament must monitor the situation and put the Agriculture ministry to task to ensure that this situation does not end up in crime,” he said.
Mano said there is need for farmers to be assisted to breed donkeys, so that they can be used as draught power for farming purposes.
On cattle abattoirs, Mano said of Zimbabwe’s 280 000 cattle, which are slaughtered every year, only 40% of their hides are consumed by the local market, leaving 60% without a market and underutilised because they are of low quality.
He said Finance minister Ignatius Chombo must consider removing the $0,75 cents surtax per kilogramme of exported hide, as it is depriving the country of more than $1 million in foreign currency through the sale of hides.
Chitindi said other issues that were suggested by people during public hearings were that the government must release the 5% land levy, which it is supposed to pay to rural district councils (RDCS).
“RDCs are supposed to get a 5% land levy, but they have not been getting it for the past three years, yet, the money will help them construct schools and clinics,” Chitindi said.