The Sunday News
OUR article last week carried a typographical error with regards to the price of the highest selling bull at the recent national bull sale in Harare. The price was quoted as $17 200 instead of the correct one which is $172 000. This is what the determined farmer forked for the fine lot 99 bull from Ruvale Brahmans. My sincere apologies to the breeders and buyers of this fine bull as well as the readership of this column.
An important annual event on the calendar of cattle producers is coming to Bulawayo this year. I am reliably informed that the annual beef school which is traditionally held in Harare, will this year be held in Bulawayo. It is not my intention to do ambush marketing for the beef school organisers but this is a very important event which any serious cattle producer should at some point attend.
The beef school brings together top experts in the various sections of the beef industry and they share their knowledge and experience to the farmers. The event is ideal for upcoming and established commercial cattle producers. Anyone who is producing cattle for commercial reasons and on commercial basis will benefit a lot from the beef school.
As for the date and venue interested participants can search for the information on their own. I, however, encourage farmers that have an appetite of knowledge on how to improve their production to consider investing in attending the beef school.
Let me warn my smallholder farmers, the majority of whom somehow think knowledge is cheap and are usually not willing to part with a cent paying for knowledge or information.
This one is not for free loaders because it usually demands a more than decent investment for you to attend. I do not have the figures for this. I have particularly singled some smallholder farmers for insatiable appetite for free loading with regards to knowledge acquisition because most of the time I get a farmer buzzing me on my phone and when I call back he starts narrating a challenge about his animal, be they cattle or goats. Really, you are a farmer and you are not willing even to spend a cent to call and get free advice about your animals? The one providing free knowledge has to call back at his own cost to save your animals, what cheek is this?
Moving around our country has convinced me that if only we distributed resources according to which areas need them most, we could solve some of our most critical challenges.
This is not only directed to the Government but to the private sector as well. I see a lot of hay bales that are piled along roadsides in Mashonaland provinces, in search of buyers. Evidently these don’t move that much in those areas because there is plenty grass in the veld, albeit of low quality. However, this could be gold if brought to Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces which are in great need for hay bales for most of their drought stricken areas.
There is no reason why animals should succumb to drought in some parts of the country when there is plenty in other areas of the country. The then Department of Livestock Production once had a brilliant idea of procuring hay baling machines and baling grass in areas of abundance and selling to areas in need.
Sadly this idea seems to have died with the demise perhaps after the bunching together of the livestock production department with the crop production side. This could have become very handy in a critical year like this one. Our appeal to the powers that be is not to let the brilliant idea die.
Ideas and programmes should outlive the proponent and this is how we ensure the longevity of important interventions.
Lastly I hope that the usual Government partners who always assist in times of distress like this drought, will move in quickly before the situation escalates into a catastrophe for both humans and livestock.
Let’s not wait for colourful pictures of animals dying in the veld for us to start taking action bringing in aid a little late. Let’s activate our crisis budgets and move in to save the situation, not to dramatise the effect well after losses have been incurred.
Uyabonga umntakaMaKhumalo. Feedback [email protected]/cell 0772851275