The severe impact of the drought is being felt in Masvingo province with more than 13 000 cattle have succumbed to the natural disaster since August last year amid calls for urgent mitigatory measures to avoid further loss.
With a herd of over 1 million cattle, Masvingo Province is home to one-fifth of the national herd. Livestock is the main source of livelihood for the villagers in areas such as Chiredzi and Mwenezi hence the continued loss of animals due to severe drought will affect their daily lives.
Masvingo Acting Agritex Provincial Officer, Mr Aron Muchazivepi says the two districts have been the worst affected after losing 10 000 cattle. “We have had too much of a dry spell, there is no grazing land anymore and so cattle are dying.
Some of the deaths are forced slaughters after farmers realize that there is no alternative,” said Muchazivepi Agritex officials also note that in some areas, cattle have to negotiate a distance of not less than 10 kilometres to access drinking water.
Drilling of solar-powered boreholes has been identified as one of the measures to ensure the availability of drinking water for livestock. The effects of climate change go beyond the issue of livestock with most communal farmers in the province yet to plant the summer crop due to the persistent dry spell.
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