Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Beitbridge West legislator Cde Ruth Maboyi has said the drought affecting most parts of the country especially Matabeleland region was threatening the growth of most local economies.
She said among the worst affected districts was Beitbridge, whose economy was agro-based and called for urgent Government intervention to save both crops and livestock.
The legislator made the remarks while addressing people during a project monitoring and evaluation tour in Beitbridge by the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Dr Jorum Gumbo at Mtetengwe.
Dr Gumbo, who is in charge of monitoring and evaluation, is on a countrywide tour to assess progress on most Government projects under the 100-day cycle.
“The drought situation in our district is devastating. The water points have dried up while grazing lands have diminished and our livestock is under threat,” said Cde Maboyi.
“Our economy as a district is hinged mainly on agriculture, especially livestock production. It is our appeal to Government through your office minister (Dr Gumbo) that an urgent solution be found to save our economies and only source of livelihood for the communities.
“The general feeling among the people is that an urgent drought relief programme should be rolled out for livestock farmers. Let those with stock feeds bring it closer to the people at affordable prices.
“We are not saying the feeds should be given for free, but the farmers have money and have issues in accessing stock feeds.
She continued: “In addition, we appeal to Government and development agencies to consider rehabilitating and drilling more boreholes in our area to improve the state of water and sanitation issues. As we speak there is a scramble for water involving people, wild an domestic animals. The effects of the drought have hit our community very hard.”
The legislator said it was also sad to note that some livestock had started succumbing to drought while crops in most maize fields were a complete write off.
Cde Maboyi said it was also critical for Government to look at reviving model irrigation projects to enhance food and nutrition issues.
She said most communal farmers were willing to work, but we demotivated by the state of most projects which have either been grounded or faced a litany of operational challenges.
“We are very hopeful that after your visit our pleas will quickly get to the higher office in the land,” she said.