FARMERS in Manicaland have raised concern over the shortage of stockfeed in shops, which is hampering efforts to increase production. Mr Taurai Mutangabende, a small-scale dairy farmer in Penhalonga, said the stockfeed industry did not have adequate stocks to meet the needs of the livestock industry.
He said foreign currency shortages had negatively impacted on their dairy farming activities since they relied mostly on imported products.
“We hope as small-scale dairy farmers to double milk supplies within the next five years, but we are failing to import stockfeed, animal vaccines and supplements for cattle which has resulted in dwindling milk supplies,” said Mr Mutangabende. “Government should put in place measures that will assist us to increase milk production.”
Another farmer, Mr Obert Bungu, said their cattle were succumbing to drought and they were unable to buy supplementary feed after shops hiked prices.
“Livestock production is an important component in agricultural development, particularly in the communal areas where cattle are the major form of draught power,” he said.
“However, stockfeed shops should provide us with enough feeds at affordable prices.”
Feedmix technical sales representative Mr Fast Muronzi said they had been recording high sales of stockfeed in the province since the inception of the Command Livestock programme and were failing to meet demand from customers.
“The Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme has increased the demand for stockfeed, hence we are failing to supply enough feed since there is a shortage of foreign currency in the country,” said Mr Muronzi.
He said his company had seen an increase in demand for beef feed, mostly in Mutare and Chipinge districts.
Mutare Farmer Supply agronomist Mr Bryan Tiyai said they had been out of stock for more than three months because National Foods was not supplying them with the feed.
“We are turning down our customers who usually buy supplements for cattle because we are not receiving any beef feed from our suppliers,” he said.
Source : The Herald