The government has called for the revival of community livestock feedlots in Matabeleland South Province in order to save thousands of animals that are under threat from perennial drought.

Over 4000 cattle have since died in the province, amid fears that many more could succumb to drought.

As part of measures to mitigate against continued losses, farmers have been selling some of their starving animals at cheap prices so as to buy feed for the remaining herd.

The price of stock feed is however too exorbitant, with a 50kg bag of stock feed going for between ZW$150 and ZW$160.

The farmers are now pinning their hopes on the government for assistance.

In an interview with the ZBC News, Vice President Kembo Mohadi encouraged communities to resuscitate feedlots, saying this concept worked in the past as government would provide fodder to farmers.

“In the 1990s, we had a serious drought worse than the one we are experiencing now. What we did then was coming up with feedlots throughout districts where people would bring their animals and government would assist with fodder. So we talked about that and I urged the officials and the chiefs to look at reviving feedlots. So it is just an issue telling people to bring their cattle to the feedlots, If we can’t take everything we will take some so that at the end of the drought, we still have some seed stock,” said Cde Mohadi.

Meanwhile, communal farmers in Gwanda, Insiza and Bulilima with a herd of less than 10 cattle are expected to benefit from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) drought mitigation programme which will see producers buying supplementary feed at subsidised prices.