Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Farmers are complaining that private abattoirs are offering farmers in drought-stricken areas non-viable prices for their livestock.
Most farmers have taken heed of Government’s call to reduce their herd by selling unproductive livestock.
But farmers can only sell the livestock in their own areas owing to the veterinary restrictions following the recent foot and mouth disease (FMD) and anthrax outbreaks after the Department of Veterinary Services banned the movement of cattle from one area to another to reduce the spread of the disease.
Some private buyers have taken advantage of this inability to move cattle to areas where better prices are available by offering the desperate farmers low prices for the cattle.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president’ Mr Wonder Chabikwa yesterday said destocking was delayed and now farmers were facing challenges in selling their cattle.
He said the situation could have been better had the cattle been sold earlier before the outbreak of the diseases.
“We were supposed to have moved the cattle to areas with pastures. Now farmers are selling their cattle at give- away prices because they are desperate and cannot watch their livestock succumb to drought.
“It is better for farmers to sell than leave the cattle to die. It is better to get the little money and buy food than watch the cattle dying,” he said.
Mr Chabikwa advised farmers to seek advice from the DVS before selling their cattle.
DVS director Dr Josphat Nyika yesterday encouraged farmers to approach their provincial veterinary offices for guidance.
“Anthrax and FMD and now under control but the quarantine remains. Farmers cannot move cattle out of their zones and can only sell in their areas.
“We are facilitating risk-based cattle sales to guide farmers. We encourage the auction system so there can be competition and farmers can get better prices for their livestock,” he said.