FARMERS in Makhulambila area in Lower Gweru have lost more than 40 cattle within the month of September due to scarcity of pastures and acute water shortages caused by the perennial dry spells experienced in the area.The dire situation was being exacerbated by a mysterious disease where seemingly healthy cattle were just collapsing and dying.
According to villagers, the total number of cattle that have died since August was estimated to be above 50 while some cases have gone unreported.
In an interview with The Herald, the villagers said the number could rise to above 100 this month if the situation does not change.
Mrs Spiwe Dube Mahamba, who lost four cattle last month and a total of 12 cattle since last year, said Government and other responsible authorities should sink boreholes in the area.
She said the Veterinary Services Department needed to speed up its diagnostic process and come up with a mitigation strategy.
"Last month I lost four cattle due to a critical shortage of pastures and water. This situation is being worsened by a mysterious disease where cattle just collapse and die.
"Last year I lost eight cattle due to the mysterious disease. This problem has become recurrent. We appeal to Government to take immediate action," she said.
Lower Gweru Wards 2 and 3 livestock extension officer, Mr Albert Mutekede, confirmed that more than 40 cattle in the area succumbed to drought effects and the mysterious disease. He said the only water source in the area, Makhulambila Dam, was below three percent.
"Farmers in this area have lost more than 40 cattle last month (September). This is due to drought effects such as water challenges and shortage of pastures.
"Cattle in this area are also collapsing and dying. We are yet to establish the cause of the death. The VET department is still examining the samples they took so as to diagonise the disease," he said.