By Dumisani Nyoni
Nkayi, August 15, 2016 — VILLAGERS in drought prone Nkayi have now resorted to fetching water from boreholes to give to their livestock which face the risk of dying through thirst due to poor rainfall experienced last year.
Villagers in the poor Matabeleland North area told RadioVOP at the weekend that the few dams they were relying on as water sources for their livestock have since dried up.
Zimbabwe last season experienced an El Niño-stimulated dry spell, characterised by extremely hot and dry weather conditions, which left people and livestock in dire straits.
“Our major problem as villagers at the moment is shortage of water. The few dams we have dried up and we are forced to source for water for our livestock from boreholes,” one villager under chief Sikhobokhobo said.
Another villager, Collen Ndebele under village head Naison Ncube, said it was now difficult to feed livestock using salt and other feed which leave them dehydrated.
“Pastures are there but we don’t have water sources for our cattle. Sometimes you would want to feed your livestock with salt but you can’t because salt forces cattle to drink more water yet we don’t have it,” he said.
According to livestock experts, water is the most important nutrient for cattle.
It accounts for 50 to 80 percent of an animal’s weight and is involved in every physiological process.
Villagers said their livelihoods were under constant threat as they depended on livestock.
They implored government and non-governmental organisations to construct more dams to avert future crises.
Livestock is a sign of wealth in the Ndebele-speaking people and if it is at threat, they got disturbed.
Matabeleland North has over the years lost thousands of cattle due to drought, caused by poor rains.