Gwanda(Ilanga-New Ziana) –Communal farmers in Matabeleland South province have so far lost at least 7 000 cattle due to ravaging drought, 700 percent more than at the same time last year.
According to statistics at the Veterinary Services department, at least 1 000 cattle died between January and October last year.
All the seven districts in the province are affected although at different levels, with Insiza, Beit-bridge and Bulilima being the hard hit.
In an interview, provincial livestock officer Mario Muchemwa said the situation was similar in all districts as most of the cattle were dying at water points after getting stuck while searching for the precious liquid.
“The situation is very bad and more cattle might die if farmers do not destock and buy feed to sustain the remaining ones. This is almost seven times loss compared to last year which was just a 1 000 cattle lost,” he said.
Muchemwa said Insiza had the highest loss with 1 981 cattle, followed by Beitbridge with 1 665, Bulilima 1 266, Gwanda 979, Mangwe 801, Matobo 646 and Umzingwane the least affected with 390 cattle dead.
He said it was saddening to note that cattle prices were dropping drastically as drought was affected their quality, with a beast going for as little as ZWL250.