The unavailability of stock-feed on the market continues to affect livestock farmers as some parts of Matabeleland are yet to receive significant rains this season.

The looming drought this year is set to affect the livestock sector more with some parts of the Matabeleland region yet to receive rains, living animals with no feed as the pastures have no blade of grass.

The worst affected areas are Insiza South, Gwanda, Beitbridge, and Matobo in Matabeleland South while in Matabeleland North, Lupane Hwange, Nkayi, Bubi and Umguza remain in danger of losing more animals to drought.

Farmers who spoke to ZBC News said the situation is critical this year due to the shortage of stock feed on the market, making it difficult to procure supplementary feed, especially blocks, a handy product to livestock farmers.

Retailers confirmed that there is a shortage on the market of blocks, survival rations and pen feed.

However, the major producers of stock feed could not shed light on the challenges they are facing.

It was also noticed that the vaccines and dipping chemicals are also in short supply as all animal vaccines are imported while the three tier pricing was also seen as a big factor in the industry with some retailers selling in hard currency while others had a difference of over a US$100 on dipping chemicals.

The prices of stock-feed, vaccines and dipping chemicals is set to further push up the prices of animals as farmers try to recover the costs.

Currently, farmers are selling at an average price of US$1 600 per beast while a ram of a boar goat is selling for 3 000 rand or US$300.

Farmers are struggling to access vaccines, dipping chemicals and vitamin supplements for their animals locally and are forced to import from South Africa and Botswana.