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Villagers lose cattle to maize dealers

WEDZA — Severe hunger is forcing desperate villagers in Wedza to exchange their livestock for maize to enable them to feed their families.

REPORT BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

Most of the villagers from Zviyambe area have been experiencing acute hunger for the past few years, because of poor rains and intense temperatures that are common in the district.

In the past few months, cattle dealers have regularly been seen exchanging bags of maize for beasts in Mutiweshiri, Chikurumadziva, Makarara and Mangoro villages.
Usually, a beast is exchanged for 20 bags of maize.

In Harare, a bucket of maize costs about US$7, which means dealers are buying each beast for about US$240.

The villagers said cattle dealers collect the livestock once every two months and sell it to abattoirs in Harare and Marondera.

Zviyambe South ward councillor, Godfrey Chitsaka said he was aware that the villagers were being short-changed by the cattle dealers.

“I am quite aware that people are being deceived at some points, but there is nothing that they can do, this is how they are going to survive,” he said. “For the past few years, maize dealers have been operating like that.”

Villagers, who spoke to StandardCommunity said they had to use whatever means to get maize to counter the looming hunger.

“There is no maize in this area because of low rainfall. There are people who are coming here with maize which we exchange with cattle,” said one of the villagers, Tsitsi Chitambo “They are helpful indeed as people can get maize to last for a long time.”

Another villager, Joshua Mangwiro echoed the same sentiments.

“People who are bringing maize here are doing a great job because without them we will die of hunger,” he said. “There is no maize here and it is a disaster.”

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