|Livestock markets - By Muhle M Masuku|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 19:10|
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United we stand, divided we fall
MANY people use such catch phrases only during the time of war, but I can assure you even civilians ought to use such combative language in order to unite against profiteers.
Some people have mastered the art of predation: isolate and attack. Farmers have fallen victim to the same old system since time immemorial.I am told that the Zebra put their heads together and leave their beautiful behinds so invitingly bare. A menacing predator then launches an ill-timed attack, only to receive a bullet of a kick that leaves it paralysed. Surely, God gave us better brains than the zebra yet we cannot come together and defend our asset base. Singabe siqilwa sikhangele madoda.
You do not need a rocket scientist to tell you that the key is to be able to relate with your neighbours. Even the Bible says it nicely, love thy neighbour. I hear the same old question, “Masuku, I cannot send only one animal to the abattoir’’.
Definitely, that can be suicidal, only to a man who believes in minding his own business. If you opt to live in a cocoon, you tend to limit your options. Bantu, ukwanda kwaliwa ngabathakathi.
I see huge possibilities in the livestock sector in my mind’s eye. During my recent visit to rural Mangwe I managed to undress the ravaging drought and see a land of milk and honey. Israelites are living God’s promise, having turned the desert into productive land. What makes us this impotent is the failure to learn; in fact, those in the know will tell you that people who repeat the same mistake are stupid.
Lack of clean water in farming areas is very serious. White farmers came into virgin lands and managed to live extremely well in the drier parts of the country. We can do well too. However, there are some serious considerations to make. Let us leave the Government alone because farmers have made numerous appeals for water and have received very little to smile about. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said it over and over again that the Government has no money.
Farmers can come together and sink boreholes for their livestock. A livestock unit apiece for 10 farmers can do wonders for those who look so miserable and desperate at the moment. The Government hydrologists can help identify suitable sites as promised recently in Bulilima District; let us do the rest. There could be drought above the ground, but there are underground rivers and lakes. Asimanyaneni sigebhe imigodi yamanzi ezifuyo zethu.
Farmers should sell their livestock as organised groups. It is possible to send livestock to better paying markets. It is possible to use farmers’ unions to co-ordinate livestock groups for purposes of selling in profitable markets.