Lloyd Gumbo Harare Bureau
THE government is mobilising $210 million for livestock and wildlife support, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made has said. He made the remarks in Parliament on Wednesday during a Questions Without Notice session.
Minister Made also urged farmers to destock to avert loses caused by a shortage of pastures and water.
He was responding to a question from Umzingwane MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) on what measures the government was putting in place to avert El Nino-related cattle deaths.
“On cattle, we have a support programme where we are going to spend about $139 million on the livestock programme,” said Minister Made.
“On the livestock destocking programme we’ll deploy $54 million and on wildlife support we’ll assist with $15 million.”
Thousands of cattle have died throughout the country due to lack of grazing pastures and inadequate water.
In some parts of Manicaland and Masvingo, villagers are said to be selling their cattle for as little as $30.
Minister Made said it was important for farmers in such areas to sell some of their cattle before their condition deteriorates.
“We envisage that farmers that are in the arid areas that do not have sufficient rainfall and pastures should de-stock before the livestock die of famine or lack of grazing,” said Minister Made. “I’m saying so because in some areas there hasn’t been any rainfall as a result we don’t have grazing pastures.
“There are areas where we’re moving cattle from one area to the other to ensure that there is enough grazing. The key point is livestock farmers should de-stock and sell most of their cattle before they die,” said Minister Made.