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Another drought inevitable

...as pastures begin to diminish in Matabeleland

Another livestock drought is inevitable with pastures in both Matabeleland South and North diminishing while a number of dams are projected to dry-up before the onset of the 2020/2021 agricultural season.

The region lost thousands of cattle before the onset of the 2019/2020 cropping season owing to poor pastures and depleted water sources for the animals.

Due to erratic and poor rains received in the past agricultural season, which ended in March, another drought is unavoidable.

Insiza farmer and Nyamazana Auctioneers director, Jonathan Nsingo, told CITE pastures in the district were beginning to diminish.

“The grass is beginning to dry up this side and drought cannot be ruled out considering that some dams did not fill-up,” said Nsingo.

“Farmers would want to begin selling their cattle but there is no market. It would have been better if CSC (Cold Storage Company) was still buying cattle. Things are tight for us.”

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) executive committee member, Irene Maphenduka, warned of a drought far worse than the one experienced last year.

“Farmers are already cutting grass to be stocked and later fed to cattle when the drought strikes,” said Maphenduka whose farm is in Umguza.

“I have no doubt that the drought this year, will be worse than last year. We therefore encourage all farmers to intensify grass cutting so they can save their livestock during the drought period.

Meanwhile, farmers in Umguza are having problems in getting into town to buy food for their employees as a result of the COVID-19-induced lockdown, which has created transport problems for many.

“We can’t get food for our workers and it is not easy to get into town with some of the few transporters demanding payment in South African Rand,” said Maphenduka.

“We are in trouble and people will die of hunger while in this lockdown.”

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