BY REX MPHISA
PROMINENT Beitbridge commercial farmer Robert Park has urged the government to establish livestock feedlots in drought-prone areas to save the national herd.
Zimbabwe has over the years lost a significant proportion of the national herd due to recurrent droughts.
Park says the establishment of feedlots across the country would help reduce animal deaths.
He said this during a meeting with Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement minister Anxious Masuka, who visited Beitbridge, a prime livestock area, recently.
“Communal farmers incur heavy losses when their livestock succumbs to the effects of droughts and it is sad when someone who had up to 50 beasts is left with none.
“The government could establish feedlots in rural areas to protect farmers against such losses,” Park said.
Approximately 10 500 cattle died due to a lack of pastures and water in the three southern provinces of Zimbabwe at the height of a drought in 2019.
Most affected was Matabeleland South, widely regarded as Zimbabwe’s driest province, with about 4 500 cattle having died by mid-October that year.
Feedlots could be established using fodder stored during the rainy season while supplements could be supplied as drought relief.
Park, who is an alderman at the Beitbridge Rural District Council, said he was willing to assist in the establishment of the feedlots.
He also pledged to assist government realise its ambition to supply at least 10 citrus trees per household.
Park is a successful commercial farmer with thousands of hectares under orange trees which caters for both the local and export markets.
Masuka, said government had multi-million-dollar projects in the pipeline to uplift rural people economically