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Drought related cattle mortalities hit North East

LESEDI MKHUTSHWA
Head of cattle PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
FRANCISTOWN: Poor rains in the country have left pastoral farmers in the North-East district distraught at the rate at which cattle are dying due to drought related mortalities.

According to the pastoral farmers from Siviya and Tsamaya villages amongst other affected villages, lack of rainfall is threatening to wipe out their livestock.

In an interview with Mmegi, one of the pastoral farmers from Siviya, Shepard Ncimbi disclosed that they have recorded a lot of drought related cattle deaths in their village.

He explained sorrowfully: “Everywhere you go across our village there is clear evidence of a large number of cows that have collapsed due to starvation. The heat is also too extreme and there is no water for them to survive.”

Ncimbi said that he lost five cows due to drought in a period of two weeks. He also revealed that some of the villagers have lost close to a total of 25 cows.

Ncimbi raised concern about the slow delivery of services by the veterinary office in their area due to shortage of veterinary assistants.

He said: “We only have one veterinary assistant in the area who is expected to service over four villages such as Mabudzane, Tsamaya and others.”

Another concerned villager, Richard Mpona shared the similar sentiments with Ncimbi.

He said that they have lost cows in the Siviya village due to animal drought related mortalities.

Mpona who is a part-time pastoral farmer said that he did not experience the devastating situation but he has watched over the past weeks as some of his neighbours lost cattle due to lack of rainfall and extreme temperatures.

He said that his neighbour who is in her late 60s lost four cows and they reported

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the issue to veterinary office but nothing was done.

He also said that close to six people in his neighbourhood have been affected on different occasions. But due to the recent rainfall they remain hopeful that the situation will change for the better.

Tsamaya village elder, Power Kuswane also told this publication that most drought stressed herd died along A1 road from Tsamaya up to Ramokgwebana village.

According to Kuswane cars hit some livestock when crossing the road because they are weak and cannot cross the road at a fast pace.

He said:“We cannot supply the cattle with water because we are also faced with the same situation. There is no water in the area. We constantly get water from water browsers.”

He said that the poor animals have developed a tendency of eating from   homestead waste dumping containers as means for survival.

The principal veterinary officer for the region Dr. Kefilwe Makgetho confirmed that they have established animals’   drought disease mortality in the area. He however, could not reveal the numbers of the mortalities.

He said that they have recorded incidents of cattle dying due to drought almost everywhere in the region citing villages such as Tsamaya, Mapoka, Masunga, Makalamabedi to mention only a few.

Makgetho said that last year they registered cases of reduced weight gain in some livestock to an extent of pastoral farmers losing these cattle due to harsh climatic and natural environment conditions.

He said that the situation recently improved due to rainfall, which poured over the past weeks.



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