Livestock farmers in Matabeleland South Province have implored the Ministry of Agriculture to avail itself and assist it in addressing the several challenges they are facing, major among them suppressed prices.

Livestock farmers in Matabeleland South Province are afflicted by a number of challenges chief among them, the low prices of animals as the curtail of livestock auctioneers have colluded to suppress prices much to the benefit of abattoir operators who are realising profit margins of between 200 and 300 percent.

This has unsettled the livestock value chain where the farmers are getting a raw deal on the market as cattle prices are as low as $250 per beast which is $50 lower than the price of a ram considering a doper and bauer goat ram fetch $300 each on the market.

The farmers are also awaiting funding for restocking as promised through the proposed command livestock programme.

The situation is also similar for small stock farmers where dealers who survive on buying and selling goats and sheep are looting them at a paltry $20 and $35 and reselling at between $80 and $120 in the lucrative Bulawayo and Harare markets.

The farmers through the Livestock Farmers Union are in the process of engaging livestock auctioneers to establish viable prices that can sustain the industry.