The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter
IN a move that has brought a sigh of relief and comfort to a Nkayi family that lost 21 cattle through accidental poisoning, Matabeleland farmers today handed over a donation worth US$40 000 in form of heifers, cash and various sundry.
The Nkayi family made headlines over the past week after it lost 21 cattle following a communication breakdown which saw them dosing the cattle with a tablet each of aluminum phosphide, a poisonous chemical that is used for fumigating stored grain, seeds and tobacco among others.
The cattle belonged to three Mpofu family members, Mr Lindani Mpofu, who bought the pesticide, Mr Orderly Mpofu, who dosed the cattle and 99-year-old Mrs Jennet Mpofu.
The family homestead is at Dolahali area in Nhlekisa Village under village head Ncube. A total of 13 out of 16 top-quality heifers and a bull were handed over to the Mpofu family at the Matabeleland North Department of Veterinary Services this morning (Wednesday).
Handing over the donation to the Mpofu family, Matabeleland farmers’ representative, Mr Alvord Mabena said the tragedy that had befell the Mpofu family had touched the farmers hence the move to raise the donations.
“I particularly feel humbled to have been chosen by the Matabeleland farming community to represent them on this historic occasion. It has been a hive of activity behind the scenes during this past week as farmers put all this together.
“I can confirm that, all in all, the total donations ended up being molasses and, above all, time and expertise. Well more than cattle you are looking at, it was in the form of cattle, cash, hay bales, transport, fuel, medication, dips, and vaccines. When this story broke out in the media, we were told the Mpofu family had lost and buried their 21 herds of cattle all valued at US$ 8500, at least according to newspapers,” said Mr Mabena.
While the total value of the cattle lost during the catastrophe was estimated to be US$ 8500, Mr Mabena revealed that the donation has since quadrupled that value.
“Right now, we are looking at a total donation of 16 top-quality heifers and an equally top-quality bull, all valued at US$25 000. In addition, all other donations in kind, amount to an additional US$15 000, totaling the sum of US$40 000 from some 40 farmers altogether.
“Not only have we donated cattle and sundry, but we have helped the Mpofu family to invest for the future with some best breeds you can find in the country, helped them restock, and helped the Nkayi community to benefit from the country’s top-quality progeny you are looking at right now,” said Mr Mabena.
He further said their hope was that the life-changing investment will be underpinned by sound local livestock support services and broad-based national programs.
The donation came much to the delight of the three family members who expressed their gratitude over the gesture. Speaking to Sunday News on the sidelines of the donation, family spokesperson Mr Denis Mpofu said:
“We as the Mpofu family are out of words. We are grateful for this gesture as we were not expecting to get such help so early. We want to thank all the farmers who contributed towards this cause. Above all the journalists who published our tragedy because people would have not known and we probably could have not gotten this help. We are really grateful.”
Only one ox survived after the family was advised to make it drink opaque beer and a heifer which is expecting and was not given the dose and two calves.
The cattle were buried after being advised against burning them by the veterinary officer in the district. [email protected]