Govt, livestock farmers clash over drought destocking

Spread the love

LIVESTOCK farmers and the government are in disagreement on whether or not to destock in the wake of the El Nino-induced drought which has already been declared a national disaster.

Destocking is a strategy producers use to effectively manage herd numbers during dry years when there is less feed available. Livestock ranking and destocking strategies could be significantly enhanced through the development of new decision-making systems.

In the wake of poor rains and devastating drought which is taking its toll in Zimbabwe, divergent views on the best strategies to adopt have popped up from the government and livestock farmers.

Deputy President of the Brahman Breeders Society of Zimbabwe, Mcebisi Ndlovu, recently warned that these rains are similar to those typically received around November.

He cautioned that this type of rain can cause the grass to rot, worsening the current drought situation.

“These rains cause the little grass to rot, further exacerbating the situation,” he said.

Ndlovu emphasised the need for farmers to start selling their cattle immediately. He warned that waiting could result in significant financial losses due to decreased cattle weight and escalating prices for beef and stock feed.

But speaking in Parliament recently, Lands and Agriculture Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka warned that destocking may be detrimental to the country’s herd.

“For instance in Matabeleland South, the cattle sold from January to February period, we observed that the quantities have gone up by 43%. So, the majority are selling their cattle. As the relevant Ministry, we urge farmers to stop rushing to sell their livestock,” he said.

He said if destocking is to be adopted; only the old range of the livestock should be sold while the young heifers and other young cows should be kept for artificial insemination.

“In the past, we used to have the Cold Storage Commission (CSC). We used to have the market days that would be published. We had 287 selling places countrywide when CSC failed its operation that was lost.

“This is the arrangement now with the district councils. We are in the process of trying to revive such activities so that farmers can be able to buy and sell cattle. We have allowed the Agricultural Marketing Authority to do that process.

“They have been to Zvishavane, hoping that this time they would go to Matabeleland South to try and revive such areas. We also have programs to ensure that with the Presidential Rural,” he said. – NewZim