Sharon Chiware, Midlands Reporter
LIVESTOCK farmers have been urged to commercialise their operations and insure their animals to avoid losses in the event of diseases and natural disasters such as drought.
Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) Midlands provincial head, Mr Alpha Majera, bemoaned losses that farmers suffer due to failure to insure their products.
“We are urging all farmers in the country to insure their livestock, which will give cover against losses due to accidental death, diseases of terminal nature and also against natural disasters,” he said.
Mr Majera said this during a recent stakeholders meeting which was held in Gweru where he stressed the need to develop sound farm production in communities.
The meeting was attended by farming stakeholders who included agro-dealers, abattoirs and the police among others.
Mr Majera observed that many farmers suffered losses to floods that affected most parts of the country early this year when many animals were killed by hail and lightning.
Last year many livestock farmers in the southern region lost their animals to diseases such as foot and mouth while others died due to starvation in the wake of drought that affected pastures.
“Livestock insurance is the best way to protect value against natural disasters as well as livestock theft.
“We want farmers to enjoy keeping their livestock and not to worry about how to recover their livestock in any circumstances,” said Mr Majera.
He said farmers in Shurugwi, for instance, have reported livestock losses when their animals fall into the several mine pits in their area and yet farmers had no way to recover their produce.
“There are instances where farmers have their livestock trapped in (mining) pits like in Shurugwi where small scale miners dig in search of minerals. All we want is for farmers to insure their livestock so as to recover their livestock at all costs,” he said.
Meanwhile, ZFU has urged women and youths to also venture into cattle ranching so as to empower themselves.