Cattle farmers in Nyamandlovu, in Wards 9 and 14, Umguza District, have bemoaned lack of veterinary services in the area, a situation that forces them to travel long distances to access such critical facilities for their livestock.
The area is one of the places in which the government resettled farmers after the 2000 land reform.
Speaking to CITE, a farmer in the area, Minus Mabhena, who recently lost 17 cattle to an unknown disease said, it was high time veterinary services were brought closer to the people.
“I lost 17 cattle between November and December this year; we have no veterinary officers in our area and we appeal to the government to ensure such services are made easily available to us as farmers,” he said.
Mabhena said travelling long distances to access nearest veterinary services was not sustainable.
Another livestock farmer in the area and member of Matabeleland North Women Livestock Association, Irene Maphenduka, said they were incapacitated.
“We need a veterinary officer, we need an Arex officer, we need; we need police,” she told CITE.
“All those government departments that work with farmers; we need them in our area. We don’t have those people. They come from afar, which is about 20km from where we are. The surrounding villages have to walk for everything. There is no means of transport. There is no bus.”
She said their source of living was in livestock production, adding they needed to be supported in that sector.
“Yes, we had command livestock programme but it is not everyone who benefitted. The cattle were just few,” said Maphenduka.
She said some farmers had their cattle dying in the past few months owing to far away water sources following the drying-up of boreholes.
“The majority are people are not benefiting from the water channelled to Bulawayo from the Nyamandlovu Aquifers,” she decried.
“We need to benefit from that water even if it means paying for it, we do not mind.”