Drought threatens to wipe out more than half of Zimbabwe’s cattle

More than half of Zimbabwe’s national herd of 5.2 million cattle is at risk of being wiped out by this year’s drought if nothing is done within the coming few months


Farmers and livestock experts say escalating diseases, as well as the devastating effects of the El Niño-induced drought, have combined to put millions of animals at risk of dying.

“According to our assessment, if no mitigatory measures are put in place to avert the situation, we are likely to lose about 50% of the country’s national herd. Government should declare the situation a national disaster,” Livestock Farmers Union Chairperson Sifso Sibanda said.

To make matters worse, Sibanda said stockfeed, vaccines and dipping chemicals were too expensive and beyond the reach for many farmers.

Pastures have depleted while water bodies are drying up in most parts of the country, leaving animals — both wild and domestic — fighting for survival.

The southern African nation did not receive adequate rainfall during the 2018/19 summer season due to the El Niño phenomenon.

Matabeleland North crop and livestock provincial officer Dumisani Nyoni said all districts in the province did not have enough pastures as well as water.

“Almost all the districts will run out of pastures by July or mid-August. There is no water and animals will start competing for water with humans. That will make boreholes break down constantly or run dry quickly,” he said.

He urged farmers to sell some of their animals and buy supplementary feed or dig wells for watering them.

The situation is also bad in Midlands province with the worst affected districts being Mberengwa, Zvishavane, Kwekwe and Gokwe North.

Post published in: Agriculture
  1. Patrick Guramatunhu

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