Farmers in Bulilima are seized with gathering hay and maize stalks to avert an impending drought crisis attributed to the effects of climate change.
Over a thousand cattle and donkeys in the district succumbed to the effects of the El Nino induced drought last year. The shortage of water and the depletes of pasture were the main features of the ravaging drought that claimed the economic base of the District. The district falls under agro-region 5 which is most suitable for cattle production hence the economic importance of livestock farming.
Bambadzi Ward in Bulilima was one of the worst affected areas during the El Nino induced drought in 2019. In response to the early warning signs of an impending drought crisis, farmers have engaged in drought preparedness strategies. These include the gathering of hay, maize, and millet stalks. Some farmers have also begun purchasing stock feed while others are downsizing their herds.
Most farmers have installed diesel-powered boreholes to address water challenges faced during the dry season.
Mr. Dube, a livestock farmer had this to say, “I cannot afford another loss, last year alone I lost three cows, after losing 8 cattle to the drought in the 2017 -2018, I decided to sell of some of my stock and drill a borehole”.
This move by farmers is set to go a long way in addressing perennial livestock deaths in the District during the dry season.
However, the dry season presents challenges of wild animal invasions, especially elephants. Wildlife encroaches into human settlements destroying infrastructure including water tanks and pens. The Habakkuk Trust Community Advocacy Action Team in Bambadzi is working on sustainable measures of addressing the issue of Human-Wildlife Conflict as it has a bearing on livestock production.