Matebeleland South has reactivated the provincial livestock drought taskforce, acting provincial director of agricultural Rural Development and advisory services, Mr Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu has said.
He said the committees have been reactivated in all districts of the province.
Mr Ndlovu said the main role of the taskforce is to mobilise resources to address the imminent drought situation which was severely affecting livestock.
“We have reactivated out drought livestock taskforce seeing the persistent dry spell which has severely affected livestock. We have conducted an assessment as a Ministry throughout the province and the situation is really bad. Almost all the districts in the province have been severely affected and there is need for immediate attention.
Major dams have dried up leaving animals without water. Some of the boreholes have dried up leaving people to compete with animals for the few boreholes that are there.
“There is need to engage more partners so that more boreholes can be drilled and more piped water schemes installed. If animals can access water then their chances of survival area high,” he said.
Meanwhile farmers have been urged to implement strategies to save their animals in the face of excessive hot weather conditions such as closely supervising their animals and pen feeding to reduce distances travelled by animals.
Farmers in most parts of Matebeleland provinces have begun to lose cattle to drought as most watering points have started drying up in the face of excessively hot weather conditions.
Mr Ndlovu said farmers also have to ensure that they buy commercial stock feed and hay to supplement their animals. He said farmers also have to limit grazing hours of their animals because of excessive heat.
Mr Ndlovu urged farmers to pen feed their animals in order to save the little net energy that the animals will be having.
As a long term measure those with big arable land must adopt the climate proofed programme where we are saying a maximum of five plots should go towards producing household crops and the rest of the land around 2 hectares should go towards growing fodder legumes and grasses for animals.
Farmers have also been urged take extra care of their animals. They have to accompany their animals to water points and monitor where they drink and direct them where there is no mud to prevent animals from being stuck in the mud. Farmers should not allow their animals to go to drinking points unaccompanied.
Source – *The Chronicle*