Drought kills livestock

At least 12 cattle have succumbed to drought in Gwanda District with more expected to die due to drought in Matabeleland South province, officials said.
Geoffrey Hove, the Gwanda district acting livestock production and development officer told a Rural District Development Committee (RDDC) meeting that two donkeys had also died due to the drought.
“Manama has the highest number of cattle deaths recorded of which six cattle have succumbed to drought while Nhwali, Gungwe and Sibona areas have recorded two cattle deaths each. The situation is bad. Grazing conditions are now very poor especially in the communal areas. We’re likely to record more deaths because there’s so much outcry from the farmers regarding the current situation,” said Hove.
In 2012, the province lost more than 9 000 cattle as the effect of the drought took a toll.
In April this year, Paddy Zhanda, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for livestock, accompanied by officials from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), visited the province to assess the drought situation.
“We’re really pleading with the Government to come to our rescue because livestock is the main source of our livelihoods. We’re trying by all means to save our livestock but it’s difficult,” said Cosmas Nyathi, a farmer from Manama.
Although the recorded cattle deaths are in Gwanda district so far, Beitbridge, Matobo, Bulilima, Insiza and Mangwe districts are likely to also start losing cattle.
More than 350 000 cattle are at risk of succumbing to drought in Matabeleland South if no intervention measures are put in place to save the livestock in this cattle ranching region. – The Herald