ZIMBABWE Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Donald Khumalo yesterday said thousands of cattle in Matabeleland and the Midlands were likely to die as grazing pastures and water are fast running out due to the drought.
Khumalo said more signs of the serious impact of drought are already showing in Matabeleland South and the province is likely to be the worst affected if the rains delay this year.
“The state of livestock in Matabeleland is deteriorating in many areas,” Khumalo said.
“I was in Kezi last week and I noticed that cattle have no pastures and most water sources have dried up. This shows that our cattle face a serious threat and farmers, the government and donors have to come together to see how we can save the cattle.”
He said it was not in question that cattle were already dying of starvation although he had no official figures at the moment.
“What we need is not to mourn the death of cattle, but to strategise on how we should protect and improve those that remain so as to promote the restocking exercise,” Khumalo said.
“As a union, we do not have resources to embark on a livestock saving exercise, but our duty is to advocate and alert farmers on threats besetting their livestock and sensitise the government on problems faced by farmers with their livestock and farming activities.”
Khumalo said the issue of climate change was also impacting negatively on cattle farming activities, but expressed hope that the Agriculture deputy minister responsible for livestock, Paddy Zhanda, would deal with issues affecting the national herd.