Government to provide seed for supplementary fodder

In response to the drought impacting livestock, the government plans to assist livestock producers with additional seeds to cultivate their supplementary fodder and help households develop domestic feed for their animals.

This was said by Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka who stated the government would begin to provide livestock fodder and other greens like lablab beans as fodder for cattle.

His sentiments come after Senator Ritta Ndlovu of Matabeleland South asked why the government does not give subsidized stock feed to farmers in Region 5, given the frequency of heat, low rainfall and associated droughts that have “significant and lasting effects” on the land, people and livestock.

The minister said the government had started assisting livestock producers but on a small scale.

“But we will be spreading this more widely in this stepwise food security and nutrition thrust,” Dr Masuka said. 

“We will be getting hopefully in 2024/25 season, in a much bigger way where we will be able to give the livestock producers the one million cattle owning households in the country additional seed so that they can produce their supplementary fodder in addition to assisting those households in formulation of household feed for their livestock.” 

Dr Masuka said the focus had been on food security to alleviate hunger. 

“The principle of the Presidential Climate Proofed Input Scheme (Pfumvudza/Intwasa) is a housed security intervention.  This is given to three million beneficiaries across the country and 500 000 peri-rural or peri-urban beneficiaries to cushion them in terms of producing sufficient food for themselves as a household food security intervention. In Region 4 and 5, you still need starch and that must come from Pfumvudza/Intwasa – that is the Government policy,” said the agriculture minister. 

“In terms of livestock which also thrives in those regions, we have said we will do this stepwise.  First, we must ensure that people have enough to eat.  That is our intervention or focus.”

Cattle illnesses were the most serious concern for Zimbabwe, with the minister estimating that 500 000 cattle died between 2017 and 2022.

“We came up with the Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Programme so that we could control livestock diseases because we had lost 500 000 cattle between 2017 and 2022.  Now that situation has stabilised and we are encouraging that as part of that intervention we begin to give fodder and other greens like lablab beans as fodder for cattle in such regions,” said Dr Masuka. 

The impact of drought on livestock can be devastating, said a livestock farmer in Matabeleland South, Moses Ndlovu.

“Limited rainfall occurs during a time when the water sources diminish but water needs have to be increased. This dryness also takes places when feed availability also becomes limited, which is why farmers need more feed and stock. It is a difficult time for farmers and livestock,” he said. 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button