Zimbabwe is grappling with a crisis with reports that around 19 300 cattle have died due to the prevailing drought.

It is feared that the figure could be much higher since some of the deaths are not reported, the deputy minister of agriculture, Paddy Zhanda told the Herald.

Despite the current wet spell being experienced in different parts of the country, the situation remains dire.

The government has advised farmers to sell their cattle and the deputy minister has conceded that cattle owners are in a quandary considering that few people are prepared to buy the cattle on the verge of death.

According to the Herald, Zhanda noted that the government was unable to assist the farmers due to its depleted coffers and the government has been struggling to provide food for vulnerable families.

Zimbabwean farmers attempt to get a malnourished cow on its feet in rural Masvingo in January Photo: the Guardian

Zimbabwean farmers attempt to get a malnourished cow on its feet in rural Masvingo in January Photo: the Guardian

There are reports that due to the desperate situation, villagers were selling their cattle for as low as U.S. $40 per head, well below normal prices, which range between $200-$500 per beast.

The southern Africa region faces a humanitarian disaster and 14 million people face hunger and starvation.

In a statement released last month by the World Food Programme, the “Worst affected in the region by last year’s poor rains are Malawi (2.8 million people facing hunger), Madagascar (nearly 1.9 million people) and Zimbabwe (1.5 million) where last year’s harvest was reduced by half compared with the previous year because of massive crop failure”.

Source: Herald