Forty (40) farmers from the Matabeleland region on Wednesday handed over 13 cattle to the Mpofu family of Dolahali in Nkayi District, which lost 21 cattle after they were mistakenly dosed with a deadly grain protectant.
A total of 16 cattle were donated but two of the beasts will be handed over to the family at a later date.
Two of the beasts could not be ferried to Bulawayo on time while the other one could not be moved due to foot and mouth quarantine measures.
The animal will be sold and proceeds from the sale will be used to buy a cow from a green zone for the family.
The herd of cattle cost about US$25 000 and was handed over to the Mpofu family at the Bulawayo Veterinary Services Department offices.
The family also received cash, hay bales, transport, fuel, medication, dipping chemicals, vaccines and molasses, which added up to a donation value of US$40 000, from well-wishers.
Speaking on behalf of the 40 farmers, prominent farmer and former National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) general manager and board chairman, Alvord Mabhena, said:
When this story broke out in the media, we were told the Mpofu family had lost and buried their 21 head of cattle all valued at US$8 500, at least according to the newspaper.
Right now, we are looking at a total value of 16 top-quality heifers and an equally top-quality bull, all valued at US$25 000.
In addition, all other donations in kind and as outlined above amount to an additional US$15 000, totalling some 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 of the 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.
A family representative, Dennis Mpofu, who was at the event, was at a loss of words following the donation. He said:
Words alone are not enough for us to express our gratitude for the love you have given to us as family.
You have helped my children and by that, you are now part and parcel of the Mpofu family.
I urge all farmers to take all precautions to avoid such disasters happening again.
We are starting a new life as farmers in how we view cattle and we appreciate the farmers’ field school that will be opened at our homestead to assist other farmers.
Dennis was accompanied to the handover ceremony by Orderly Mpofu, who administered the dose leading to the death of the cattle, and Lindani Mpofu, who bought the grain protectant.
The cattle were loaded onto a truck organised by the farmers to take them to their new kraal in Nhlekisa Village following a short handover presentation.