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Drought-Stricken Zimbabwe Farmers Stranded As Grazing Lands Diminish

  • Gibbs Dube

Subsistence farmers in drought-stricken areas of Matabeleland South and some parts of the Midlands Province are being forced to pay up to $40 a month to access grazing land in farms occupied by beneficiaries of Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform program.

Some of the affected farmers told Studio 7 Tuesday that most of them are failing to raise money to pay for grazing land, adding they fear that they may end up losing their livestock.

The farmers said some of them have resorted to parceling out livestock to resettled farmers who are demanding a beast from each villager with at least 10 cattle before allowing them to have access to greener pastures.

Some of the farmers who are refusing to part with beasts and have no source of income are believed to be driving their cattle into the resettlement areas at night.

Plumtree farmer Patrick Nyathi said the situation is getting out of hand as the majority of communal farmers can’t afford to pay the high grazing costs.

“It’s a pity that the government is not in a position to help these farmers,” said Nyathi.

Mataga farmer Thembinkosi Ndlovu said some parts of the Midlands Province’s Mberengwa District still have grazing land though their livestock no longer have access to drinking water.

Drought has gripped most parts of Masvingo, Matabeleland, Manicaland and Midlands where villagers are now living on one meal a day while their livestock is in danger of being decimated by the dry spell, one of the worst in years.