1 August 2017

Zimbabwe: National Herd Increases 4%

The national herd has increased by four percent during the 2016/ 2017 cattle production season, with about 5,5 million beasts compared to 5,3 million during the same period last year.

According to the latest Crop and Livestock Assessment report issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, 90 percent of cattle are owned by smallholder farmers.

The report states that 68 percent of the herd is from the communal sector, 11 percent from the A1, seven percent from old resettlement areas. Small-scale commercial farmers have contributed four percent while large-scale commercial farmers contributed 10 percent.

Matabeleland North recorded the highest increase of 18 percent from 557 652 cattle last season to 656 898 this year. Masvingo has the largest herd of over 1 million and increased production by one percent.

Matabeleland South follows with an increase of 11 percent from 615 073 to 685 010, Mashonaland East (653 759 to 662 158), Manicaland (615 190 to 618 120), Mashonaland West (585 850 to 594 110) and Mashonaland Central (506 892 to 534 478).

Only Midlands suffered a decline of five percent from 763 794 to 728 564. Zimbabwe Farmers' Union president Mr Abdul Nyathi said there was plenty of grazing land and water owing to the good rainy season.

"We are able to pull through to the end of the year without facing many challenges.

"We urge farmers to put fire guards around the grazing areas to minimise losses from veld fires, which are likely to erupt during the dry and windy season," he said.

Mr Nyathi advised farmers to acquire stock feed from manufacturers before they run out of supply prior to the rainy season. Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union director Mr Jeremiah Tevera said farmers should control ticks to avoid tick-borne diseases.

"Farmers should dip their cattle and follow routine tick-checks to prevent tick infestation and also inform the veterinary office if they have challenges with their livestock," he said.

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