Drought forces cat­tle prices to plum­met

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Wal­ter Mswazie Masvingo Cor­respon­dent

ABOUT 45 000 cat­tle in Masvingo are un­der threat due to a short­age of pas­tures, a devel­op­ment that has re­sulted in cat­tle prices fall­ing to as low as $50 from about $250.

Masvingo Beef Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (MBFA), Mr Robert Makado, told The Chron­i­cle yes­ter­day that all seven dis­tricts in Masvingo prov­ince have run out of pas­tures.

Mr Makado said most farm­ers are now sell­ing their cat­tle for as low as $50 from an av­er­age of $250 to avoid los­ing more cat­tle.

He urged the Gov­ern­ment and pri­vate play­ers to drill bore­holes to save the re­main­ing cat­tle.

“About 45 000 cat­tle are un­der threat in the prov­ince due to the non-avail­abil­ity of pas­tures. Most rivers and weirs have dried up and most dams like Lake Mu­tirikwi are less than 15 per­cent in wa­ter level,” said Mr Makado.

He said the cost of stock­feed that is avail­able is be­yond the reach of many farm­ers in the prov­ince and called for the price to be re­duced so that many farm­ers could ben­e­fit.

“The price of stock sur­vival feed is not af­ford­able to many farm­ers. The $10 charged per 50kg of stock­feed is too high,” he said.

“If we are re­al­is­tic in manag­ing the sit­u­a­tion in the prov­ince, the price should be re­duced to half or even $3. The price of mo­lasses should also be re­duced from $11 per 20 litres down to $3.”

Mr Makado hailed Ton­gaat Hul­let for as­sist­ing farm­ers through the es­tab­lish­ment of feed­lots in their com­mu­ni­ties but un­der­scored the need to ex­tend them to all wards.

The sugar gi­ant has in­tro­duced sug­ar­cane projects in Chief Chi­longa area in Chiredzi where farm­ers’ cat­tle are brought for fat­ten­ing and breed­ing. — @ wal­terbm­swazie2.

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