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Looming drought a threat to national herd: Senate

SENATORS have implored government to come up with practical interventions to rescue the country’s national herd in the wake of a looming drought.

While moving a motion on schemes to redeem the national herd from the devastating effects of drought on Wednesday, Matabeleland North senator Alice Dube said the country risks losing a lot of livestock if government does not intervene on time.

“This House strongly urges government to urgently design and implement practical schemes to redeem the national herd from the devastating and destructive effects of drought,” Dube said.

“There is need to urgently come up with mitigatory measures such as winter cropping and drought relief programmes which will alleviate the impact of drought in all affected areas of the country.”

Seconder of the motion Themba Mathuthu (Matabeleland South senator) said: “We can even sell cattle to buy some farming implements, seeds or fertilizer. I agree with her sentiments that we must design and implement practical schemes to save the national herd from the effects of drought. We will urgently need some supplementary feeding for our cattle and some vaccines to save them from various diseases.”

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa in March said the national beef cattle herd recorded a marginal growth of 0,6% from 5 478 648 cattle in 2020 to 5 509 983 in 2021.

She said the cattle mortality rate declined from 11,1% in 2020 to 8, 86% in 2021.

Meanwhile, Southern African Development Community agriculture ministers were set to meet beginning yesterday in Lilongwe, Malawi to discuss how climate change issues such as flooding and droughts have impacted on the food security situation in the region.

“Ministers will also deliberate on programmes of regional dimension in support of the implementation of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030, and the Sadc Vision 2050, particularly programmes for the development of Agriculture and Food Security, Fisheries and Aquaculture sectors,” the regional bloc said in a statement. _*NewsDay*_




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