Twenty-four of the 100 heifers donated to Buhera villagers four months ago by Vice President Constantine Chiwenga have died.
The heifers were donated under the Heifer Pass on Scheme to replenish thousands of herds of cattle lost to bovine theileriosis (January disease), a tick-borne disease.
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Masvingo Mirror reported sources saying the livestock succumbed drought, lack of supplements and proper care.
The Heifer Pass on Scheme was intended to benefit poor villagers but the scheme was reportedly hijacked by senior Zanu PF officials in the district.
Farmers who received the heifers are supposed to pass them on when they have new calves, therefore, the pass on the programme has been severely incapacitated by the 24 deaths.
Buhera District veterinary officer, Doctor Samson Chiduku told Masvingo Mirror that his office is incapacitated to monitor the project and he does not have information on the heifers. He said:
We don’t have fuel to monitor the heifers. We, therefore, have not visited the farmers and do not have information on what is happening.
Some farmers are reportedly selling away the heifers for US$100 when they become too weak to walk while others are slaughtering them for meat.