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Poisonous Plant Devastates Matabeleland Region

According to the Environmental Management Agency, the cactus rosea weed has caused the death of a high number of livestock in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland region. (Photo: COURTESY IMAGE)

A poisonous plant is threatening to decimate livestock in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland South province as it has completely devastated some grazing land in various areas.

According to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the cactus rosea tree has caused the death of a high number of livestock in the region.

EMA official, Amkela Sidange, says it needs about 3 million dollars to eradicate the weed, which has covered 3,300 hectares, and is threatening to spread at an alarming rate.

Sidange says the plant has affected 11 people and killed 41 livestock in the past two months in the province. Three of the people, whose condition could not be ascertained, were admitted to hospital.

EMA has tried to eliminate the plant in Gwanda, Beitbridge, Insiza, Beitbridge, Mzingwane and Matobo districts through cutting it down but this has failed.

Buhera central lawmaker, Ronald Muderedzwa, has suggested that Zimbabwe should deploy members of the national army in the affected areas to avert a regional disaster.