Beneficiaries of a restocking exercise in the Foot and Mouth Disease prone Zone 6 area have opted to be given cash instead of cattle to compensate for their animals that were slaughtered in the FMD eradication.
This change of heart has posed a challenge on the Ministry of Agriculture restocking team.
“We don’t know what might have caused this change of heart.
So far we have paid out cash worth a total of 3000 cattle, something we did not anticipate,” said North East District Agricultural Coordinator Alfred Nehemiah Mashungwa, during the just ended Francistown full council meeting.
Despite farmers’ about turn, the ministry still falls short of 7 783 cattle.
“We have managed to buy 19 537 cattle out of the 27 320 beasts needed and 4 487 goats.
Of the total budget of P153 million set aside for restocking, only P64 million has been spent to purchase cattle, and only P 3 million for goats,” said the Principal Veterinary Officer Dr Comfort Nkogwe.
However, government has been forced to cast its net further, as farmers are not forthcoming to sell their cattle as far as Tsabong, Ghanzi and other areas in Kgalagadi.
“Farmers in closer to zone six were not so willing to sell.
They indicated that our buying price was not so attractive to them.
This is why we did not get as many numbers as we expected from the North east farmers. However, we have had a huge response of farmers selling their goats for the restocking exercise,” continued Nkogwe.
In light of this Francistown councilors alluded that the reason why some farmers opted for money was because the animals that government was giving farmers were too small.
“All the beasts we bought were 18 months old and below.
In order to give the animals enough time to adapt to the North-East climate and geographical conditions, before they can breed and give birth.
By the time they reach the gestation period the animals will be strong and adapted,” pointed out Mashungwa.
Regardless of the unavailability of transport and staff, farmers in Tsamaya, Ramokgwebana, Jackalas 1 and 2, Mabudazane, Senyawe and Tshesebe had been restocked.
“We have partially restocked those in Matshelagabedi, Matsiloje and yet to move on to Matopi, Ditladi, Patayamatebele and Tonota,” said the Principal Veterinary Officer.