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Matabeleland farmers push for livestock revolving fund

Farmers who need to buy stock feeds and have experienced cattle loss during times of drought in Matabeleland, Zimbabwe, have urged finance minister, Tendai Biti, to consider introducing a livestock revolving fund in his 2013 budget

Dumisani Nyoni, Agritex officer for Matabeleland North, has criticised the government for its lack of action regarding the loss of more than 500 cattle following bouts of severe drought in the region.

"We continue to lose a lot of livestock because of delayed response to that situation, like this year the intervention has come after how many cattle have been lost?" Nyoni asked when presenting submissions from the agricultural sector at a recent 2013 budget consultation meeting in Bulawayo. 

Nyoni said a revolving fund would support farmers in producing their own fodder banks, a development he claimed would make major improvements to the quality of stock that entered the market.

"We [should] have a continuous revolving fund that farmers can continuously access as and when the need arises," he added.

The revolving fund would give farmers easy access to drugs and vaccines while reducing the number of animals succumbing to diseases.

"We continue to lose cattle from diseases that are beside the direct control of veterinary services, where the farmers are required to address diseases like tick-borne diseases," Nyoni said.

The financial backing could also support farmers in their task of restocking, which would also cover the small stock, stated Nyoni.

"What we are looking at is the issue of restocking, also addressing the issue of small stock, goats and sheep. After the land reform, there were farmers that had access to hectares of land, so for them to contribute meaningfully to industry, they have to venture into small livestock production," he added.