Latest News Editor's Choice

News / National

Villagers sell their livestock for a song

by Staff reporter
07 Apr 2024 at 21:03hrs | Views
VILLAGERS in Matebeleland and Midlands are being forced to sell off their livestock for a song to buy a few bags of maize and other basics as the effects of the El Nino-induced drought set in.

Zimbabwe is going through a severe drought amid fears that more livestock could die as the effects of climate change wreak havoc across the country.

The 2023/24 farming season saw farmers receiving very little rainfall and the majority of crops failed.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week declared the drought a national disaster to mobilise resources to feed over two million Zimbabweans that humanitarian agencies estimate may need food aid.

The harsh economic climate characterised by the skyrocketing cost of living has added more misery to ordinary people.

Some villagers who spoke to Southern Eye on Sunday said they were being ripped off by unscrupulous buyers who are offering less than US$150 for a beast.

"We are being ripped off when it comes to the prices," Mkhokheli Gatsheni from Sogwala in Lower Gweru said.

Under normal circumstances, a beast is sold for at least US$400, but now with villagers scared of being left with carcasses, any price can do.

Gatsheni said what has worsened their plight is that the price of stock feed has also gone up.

Another villager Shadreck Dube said what made the situation worse is that the price of stock feed has also gone up.

"The feed is very expensive and as a farmer you don't determine the price of the feed, but the price of the animal that you feed is being determined by someone who doesn't know what you would have gone through and the costs," Dube said.

"We might have a serious shortage of beef, because most of the farmers would have given out their cattle for free."

Chief Tshitshi from Mangwe district in Matebeleland South said farmers were already feeling the effects of the drought.

"The hunger strike is forcing most people to sell their livestock in order to survive," he said.

"Unscrupulous buyers want a very big beast for 3 000 rand instead of 7 000 rand."

Chief Dakamela from Nkayi added: "It's now a trend during the hunger seasons.

"The communities are bartering a beast in exchange of maize, fees, food and other basics."

Zimbabwe is experiencing more frequent droughts due to climate change and this has spawned serious water shortages and hunger.

Source - Southern Eye