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Drought terrifies Zim farmers, about 7 000 cattle dead

13 January 2016, 13:41

Masvingo - Panick has gripped villagers in parts of Zimbabwe after at least 7 000 cattle died due to acute water, and pastures shortages, the state-owned Chronicle newspaper reports.

According to the report, the southern half of the land locked country has experience one of the driest seasons in well over two decades.

The report revealed that at least five cows were dying every week due to the extreme dry conditions. Over 5 000 cows in the Masvingo province have been reported dead so far.

Masvingo Beef Farmers Association chairperson, Robert Makado, said the situation was dire, adding that stock feed was available in a few areas, and was costing the farmers about $8.50 a bag.

Also Read:Grain crisis: Zim to import 230 000 tons from Zambia

Masvingo is reportedly home to about two million cattle, thus, it hosts about a quarter of the southern African country’s cattle, which is about five million cattle.

A small herd owner in Masvingo told New Zimbabwe that all was not well in the province as farmers were forced to sell of their beast at meagre prices.

According to the report the farmers were forced to sell their beast at about $50 a staggering $350 short under normal circumstances where one beast cost about $400.

Meanwhile, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper,  in other parts of the country, people were travelling long distances to find water, and adequate pastures for their animals.

According to the report, more than 1 000 cattle died in Mberengwa and Zvishavane district on January 8.

A report by the Southern Eye revealed that people were competing with the beasts for drinking water. Village elders in Gwanda agreed to ration water in their bid to save what was left in their small community.

Last year, the livestock department in Matebeleland North warned farmers to prepare for the worst, saying at least 99% of the cattle in the province could be lost due to shortage of pastures caused by drought.

- News24 Nigeria


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