Mutare — Buhera district officials have pleaded with government to upscale food aid to thousands of villagers who have now fallen prey to bogus buyers who are taking their cattle for as little as RTGS$1 500.
District Administrator for Buhera, Freeman Mavhiza said the district has lost at least five thousand livestock to these menacing buyers who have now flooded the drought prone area.
"Buhera as a district we are very vulnerable to a lot of disasters, even the rains from November last year even affected us with at least 223 households affected with property destroyed estimated at RTGS$ 378 128, 000,
"A total of 22 schools were affected by the early rains and the estimate damage in terms of property destroyed is in excess of RTGS$1 million, just from these early rains this further illustrate our vulnerability as a district.
"While there are development partners chipping in her and there like Caritas which is chipping in with construction of at least 300 housing units for the areas that were affected by the rains, we still need more support in terms of food aid," said Mavhiza.
He added, "We have lost a total of 5000 herd due to the constraining economic conditions that are being faced by the local community and this affects the livelihoods of the ordinary citizens because people had to sell off their livestock to feed their families, while some have died because of lack of pastures."
This was also seconded by Chief Makumbe who accused unscrupulous abattoir operators from as far as Harare of ripping off district of its herd for nothing.
"We are facing a real challenge in our area because we are losing our cattle to unscrupulous buyers from Harare who are coming to get our livestock for nothing because they know that the people here are hungry.
"They are coming here and they take some petty criminals to spray the eyes of the cattle and when they are now buying, the sprayed cattle will appear unwell forcing price down.
"People are desperate they need to survive, feed families and take them to school so they end up selling their livestock for next to nothing. We appeal to government to increase their food support because the situation is dire.
"In some villages we have lost over seventy percent of our livestock due to these unscrupulous cattle buyers and the effect of drought which has reduced grazing pasture for the livestock," said Chief Makumbe.
Mavhiza said Buhera failed to receive enough support in the aftermath of the Cyclone Idai disaster despite incurring considerable damage to property and infrastructure worth over millions of dollars.
"We have always been under a lot of distress because of Cyclone Idai disaster, as Buhera District we were swept under the radar because there were less deaths than in other areas because we only lost one person.
"We have displaced people that came from Chimanimani they are about 600 people that have migrated following the Idai disaster, even schools were affected up to 58 schools were affected by the disaster.
He added, "We need more support from government to help us cope with the effects of Cyclone, on food security we need more support because the situation is worsening everyday in some areas."