Mat South chiefs appeal for cattle under Command Livestock Programme
CHIEFS from Matabeleland South have appealed to the Government to be allocated cattle under the Command Livestock Programme.
Speaking during a Command Livestock distribution programme in Gwanda recently, Chief Khulumani Mathema of Wenlock told Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Retired Chief Air Marshal Perrence Shiri that the welfare of chiefs should be considered in ongoing economic development programmes.
Government launched the Command Livestock Programme in Matabeleland South and North Provinces in a bid to empower farmers and boost beef production in the country.
“As chiefs our appeal to you Minister is that we also benefit from the Command Livestock Programme.
“There have been several distributions of livestock within the province and in all of them the chiefs have been left out.
“It’s not proper for chiefs to lead a wealthy and well-resourced community while they themselves are poor.
“People will despise us and not give us the respect we need which will eventually make our task of leading them difficult.
“It’s imperative that our welfare is also considered and we benefit from various economic development programmes that are being implemented,” he said.
Chief Bango from Mangwe District said he also saw it fit for the Command Livestock Programme to benefit chiefs as well.
He said at times Government overlooked the welfare of chiefs yet they played a crucial role in the community.
He said it was important for chiefs to benefit whenever communities were benefiting.
In response, Rtd Chief Air Marshal Shiri said he will take the matter up for discussion. He assured the chiefs that Government is concerned with their welfare.
He handed over 347 heifers to 92 farmers in Matabeleland South Province.
He urged farmers to fully utilise agricultural programmes that were being created by the Government.
He said the Command Livestock Programme would soon incorporate other schemes that include dairy cattle, piggery, goats, sheep and poultry.
Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Matabeleland South provincial crops and livestock specialist, Mr Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu said this was the fourth distribution of heifers since the programme was launched early this year.
He said 9 253 farmers across the province were registered under the programme. Mr Ndlovu said since the inception of the programme 1 738 cattle had been distributed benefiting 435 people.
The Command Livestock Programme was launched in Matabeleland South Province in February in Insiza by Vice-President General Constatino Chiwenga (Retired).