Cattle farmers in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North, have begun cutting hay for feeding their cattle in winter amid challenges of lack of proper equipment, CITE has established.
Owing to good rains currently being received across the country, green grass is in abundance in most parts of Matabeleland North.
In the past two consecutive seasons, farmers in the region lost a significant number of cattle to drought following the dwindling of pastures as a result of poor rains received.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) executive member, Irene Maphenduka, based in Nyamandlovu, Umguza district, told CITE this week that some farmers in the area had started cutting hay to guard against a livestock drought.
“The grass is just so good and has grown so tall,” said Maphenduka.
“We are encouraging one another as farmers to cut the grass and store it safely. The problem is that most of us are using sickles. We do not have the machines to do that. That is our challenge.”
She said at their recently held meeting, they also encouraged the use of grass slashers and the erection fire guards to protect the grass that would be remaining in winter.
The government has set aside ZWL$5, 3 billion for livestock farming across the country this year.
Livestock farmers especially in Matabeleland have in the past accused the government of prioritising crop farmers ahead of them.
In the past the country has lost substantial livestock attributable to drought and floods which reduced pastures as well as the continued outbreak of pests and disease attacks including the fall army worm; tuta absoluta, foot and mouth disease, anthrax and theileriosis in cattle.
Finance and Economic Development Minister, Mthuli Ncube, recently said to support livestock production, the government would assist farmers to restock the national herd through disease control and surveillance including game fencing and rehabilitation of dip tanks.