Zim drought: 600 000 cattle at risk, says report

2015-07-07 16:01

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Cape Town – Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North is reportedly faced with a severe drought which might see the province losing at least 600 000 cattle.

According to the state-owned Chronicle newspaper, the livestock department warned farmers to prepare for the worst, saying at least 99% of the cattle in the province could be lost.

The worst-hit areas were Hwange, Binga and Tsholotsho, where grazing land was deteriorating and farmers were already seeking relief grazing elsewhere, the report said.

Matabeleland used to be one of the leading livestock producers in the southern African country.

This is not the first time that the Matabeleland region has been hit by severe drought. In 2013, the United Nations intervened to save more than half a million units of livestock in the country's Matabeleland South province after severe droughts drastically reduced cattle herds to alarming levels.

Recent media reports have indicated that most people in Zimbabwe might go hungry due to lack of rain. However, government says it won’t declare the drought a national disaster.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said recently that President Robert Mugabe’s government would meet the needs of vulnerable rural populations.

"We are not at a stage yet to indicate whether this is a disaster or not. I want to make that clear," Made said, in comments contained in a transcript seen by News24 recently.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  joseph made  |  zimbabwe  |  natural disasters  |  agriculture  |  southern africa  |  water

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