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Livestock Farmers ready to work with CSC

by Staff Reporter
06 Nov 2019 at 11:09hrs | Views
THE Livestock Farmers' Union says it is ready to sell its animals to any bidder including CSC-Boustead Beef Zimbabwe as long as the buyers offer the best prices on the market.

Following Cabinet's recent approval of a US$400 million joint venture deal between CSC and a United Kingdom investor, Boustead Beef (Pvt) Ltd, the firm has embarked on massive rehabilitation of infrastructure at its ranches across the country as it prepares to resume full-scale operations in January next year.

It is hoped that the company will create more competition in the market by offering competitive prices to livestock producers.

Speaking by telephone from Beitbridge yesterday, Livestock Farmers' Union chairman Mr Sifiso Sibanda said their members were prepared to work with anyone who offers competitive prices on the market.

"As farmers, we are ready to work with CSC and we are waiting to see what work ethic the new investor is proposing to farmers. CSC is a national institution and being a national institution, we hope the new investor will be interested in working with farmers.

"If the investor wants to work with livestock farmers and offers good prices, it is fine and fair for us, we will support that initiative," he said.

Before the collapse of CSC, livestock farmers dotted across the country used to sell their beasts to Zimbabwe's largest beef processor and marketer.

"Right now, a good beast is selling at around R5 000 and we are hoping that as soon as the rains come, the health of the animals will improve and we will be talking of R7 000 per animal, that is our target as livestock farmers. "For a cheaper animal to be selling at R7 000 we accept that because of the drought situation," he said.

As a result of the drought that has ravaged the country, Mr Sibanda said livestock mortality rate has gone beyond 7 000 in Matabeleland South province with Beitbridge being the hardest hit. "The mortality rate in Matabeleland South province alone has gone beyond 7 000 worth about R35 million. It's a scary situation but droughts are like that.

"It has happened, we see it and we hope to recover from this drought eventually. We are now no longer very concerned about it because it's there, what we are now trying to think of is life after drought, we still have got to manage and grow from there," he said. Ms Large Ndebele, a farmer in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North province said the drought situation in their area was "very bad".

"The drought situation in Tsholotsho district is very bad. We are losing at least three animals daily and there is nothing we can do to save our livestock," she said.

Turning to the US$300 million Command Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife programme launched by the Government last year, Mr Sibanda hailed the initiative saying it impacted positively on livestock farmers.

"The Command Agriculture initiative did us a very good service, we will forever remain very thankful to Government about the Command Agriculture programme.

"We were a part of the proposal whose success was because we were consulted and involved right from its inception.

"Even though there is drought, we will honour our obligation in full because the programme was a very big boost to the farmers. Its unfortunate there is drought but we know the drought is not going to wipe out all the animals," he said.

The Command Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife programme was meant to revitalise communal livestock production as well as promoting aquaculture and wildlife management.

Source - Chronicle