Chief Tshitshi of Mangwe district has called on the government to engage Botswana over its decision to destroy cattle that stray into the neighbouring country, amid reports that 77 animals were shot dead in 2017 in the border lying area.

Matabeleland South Province is a cattle region and as such, the livelihoods of communities in the province are hinged on livestock rearing.

Farmers in the province also attach great importance to cattle which is a symbol of wealth.

However, villagers under Chief Tshisthi have continued to watch their herds depleting following the decision by Botswana authorities to destroy animals that stray into their territory.

The livestock farmers also revealed that the matter is worsened by cross border stock thieves who are contributing to their continued loss of livestock.

Chief Tshitshi said the unfortunate situation will result in poverty as over 77 animals in Bulilima and Mangwe were killed last year alone.

Mangwe council expressed hope that continued engagement by the two governments will yield positive results as Botswana recently donated vaccine to the country for the management of foot and mouth disease.

The neighbouring country is alleged to have been eliminating Zimbabwean cattle that stray into their boarders in order to protect its beef exports to the European Union (EU).

A herd of 400 is reported to have been shot and killed since the policy came into effect.