Livestock farmers in Ntabazinduna near Bulawayo have been called upon to bargain for sustainable prices when selling their animals and resist below market prices.

This follows an observation that livestock auctioneers and other buyers are taking advantage of the current cash shortages and have colluded to lower the buying price of animals, especially from communal farmers who are not clear on the grading and livestock market price.

Livestock Farmers Union executive member, Mr Raphael Moyo told ZBC’s Khulumani FM that the price small stock, which is sheep and goats, must start at $65, while a big ram should fetch between $250 and $300.

Mr Moyo added that the current prices are unfair and suffice to a criminal act by buyers who are part of a livestock cartel involved in livestock piracy.

“Some have even established feedlots in and around Bulawayo which are being used as their stock holding facilities,” he said.

Mr Moyo further noted that on average, the cartel is making a profit of between 350 to 500 percent per beast, adding that in all instances, communal farmers are the victims.

According to Mr Moyo the government has been engaged over the issue with a view of having government livestock graders in all auction centers as well as the adoption of a weight based and grading auction system in all livestock markets.