Drought forces cattle prices to plummet

ABOUT 45 000 cattle in Masvingo are under threat due to a shortage of pastures, a development that has resulted in cattle prices falling to as low as $50 from about $250.

Masvingo Beef Farmers’ Association (MBFA), Mr Robert Makado, told The Chronicle yesterday that all seven districts in Masvingo province have run out of pastures.

Mr Makado said most farmers are now selling their cattle for as low as $50 from an average of $250 to avoid losing more cattle.

He urged the Government and private players to drill boreholes to save the remaining cattle.

“About 45 000 cattle are under threat in the province due to the non-availability of pastures. Most rivers and weirs have dried up and most dams like Lake Mutirikwi are less than 15 percent in water level,” said Mr Makado.

He said the cost of stockfeed that is available is beyond the reach of many farmers in the province and called for the price to be reduced so that many farmers could benefit.

“The price of stock survival feed is not affordable to many farmers. The $10 charged per 50kg of stockfeed is too high,” he said.

“If we are realistic in managing the situation in the province, the price should be reduced to half or even $3. The price of molasses should also be reduced from $11 per 20 litres down to $3.”

Mr Makado hailed Tongaat Hullet for assisting farmers through the establishment of feedlots in their communities but underscored the need to extend them to all wards.

The sugar giant has introduced sugarcane projects in Chief Chilonga area in Chiredzi where farmers’ cattle are brought for fattening and breeding. —Chronicle

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