Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Government has partnered with the Food and Agriculture Organisation to provide 450 tonnes of subsidised cattle feed to farmers hit by drought in Chiredzi.
The intervention followed reports that more than 2 500 cattle had died in the district since June last year due to a shortage of pasture.
Assistant Chiredzi District Administrator Mr Ndeya Nyede said the 450 tonnes of feed had been distributed to 32 rural wards and that communal farmers had also benefited from the scheme.
The subsidised cattle meal is selling at $8 for a 50kg bag, while in shops it is selling for $14.
Mr Nyede said recent statistics released by the Veterinary Services Department showed that more than 1 000 cattle had died between November 2015 and now in Chiredzi.
“According to the current statistics which have been released by the Chiredzi District Veterinary Service Department, in November 103 cattle died, 229 in December and a significant rise has been recorded in January where 631 have died as of today (yesterday), which makes the crisis very serious,” said Mr Nyede.
A veterinary surgeon stationed at Chiredzi, Dr Paggio Munyanyi, said the greatest challenge faced by farmers was that their cattle were travelling long distances between the water source and pastures.
“For areas like Gudo, Mhlanguleni and St Joseph’s, cattle are travelling excessively long distances in search of pastures and have to cover yet another long distance to the water source and this usually results in serious energy loss,” said Dr Munyanyi.