Consortium provides feed and water for Matabeleland South cattle

Published: 06 October 2019
A group of non-governmental organisations have initiated a programme called Sizimele in Matabeleland South aimed at providing survival stock feed and drilling boreholes pumped by solar to save livestock from poverty deaths due to drought.

Most livestock in the province are already succumbing to drought due to dwindling pastures and drying water sources since the country has been affected by drought due to erratic rains received last summer season.

Sizimele is a programme being undertaken under the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) led by the Danish Church aid. ZRBF is a five-year multi-donor initiative with an overall budget of US$75 million.

It is managed by the United Nations Development Programme and funded by the European Union, Swedish International Development Agency, Department for International Development and United Nations Development Programme.

The project co-ordinator, Mr Diego Matsvange, said the programme has started in Matobo, Insiza and Lupane.

"So far we have managed to install 45 solarised boreholes and 15 are still underway. The drive for the solarised boreholes is to improve access to water for irrigation, livestock and human consumption considering that Matabeleland South is a dry area," he said.

He said the consortium is also trying to save the livestock by providing stock feed since most pastures have dried up.

"Our crisis modifier project has distributed emergency stock feed to reduce livestock deaths. This initiative has helped to maintain over 14 000 cattle," said Mr Matsvange.

He said in 2018 a self-sustainable acaricides model was initiated as a solution to ensure cattle are dipped at the recommended intervals.

"Almost 90 000 cattle have been dipped from the 75 dip tanks that were enacted. We have also improved livestock production by genetic makeup through introduction of improved cattle and goats, we also brought in new crops which are drought resistant.

"We are promoting small grains in line with the Government's drive for sustained climate adopted crops such as amaranth, over 1 000 farmers have so far participated in amaranth production and it has been a success," he said.

He added that they have also diversified people's livelihoods and this includes linkages to markets and setting up contract farming arrangements.

"There is Tshongogkwe Irrigation Scheme in Lupane District supported to produce over 20 000 cabbages which are currently selling, mushrooms production supporting a huge local market. We also have a new crop Quinoa which is currently under set up at Midlands State University awaiting approval," said Mr Matsvange.

He said more than 2000 young men and women from these areas have been trained in developing new business and some of the businesses include food outlets, baking and piggeries.

Farmers from the province expressed great appreciation of the support. A farmer from Matobo, Mr Mduduzi Sibanda said, "This is a great initiative by Sizimele because it has saved our livestock in such hard times and we hope these new drought resistant crops will be of help."

Officials have said at least 600 cattle have already died in the province due to drought.
- sundaynews
Tags: cattle,


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