ad> Donkeys on Demand in Buhera constituency

Donkeys on Demand in Buhera constituency

Donkeys on Demand in Buhera constituency

THE demand for donkeys is on the rise in the Buhera constituency, in a stark contrast to the past when keeping the animals was seen as a sign of being less privileged since it was only kept for draught power and considered not edible .

The current surge in demand for donkeys can be attributed to various factors, including the effects of EL Nino-induced drought in Zimbabwe, particularly in the semi-arid and arid region of Manicaland Province.

The loss of cattle has left many farmers without draught power, leading to a decline in production and productivity at the household level, which has resulted in a growing need for donkeys.

 The animals are known for their resilience to diseases and can survive under harsh climate conditions.

A recent survey conducted by this publication revealed that the selling prices of donkeys had been rising steadily this year.

Jacks, jennets, and foals are now fetching much higher prices compared to previous years, indicating a growing interest in breeding donkeys as a competitive business in Manicaland province and Murambinda area to be specific.

A jack, which used to fetch as little as US$ 80 is now going for US$150, a jennet which used to go for less than US$70 is now selling at US$120 and a foal which used to sell at US$60 is commanding US$ 100 or more.

A farmer in vhiriri area, said due to the January disease menace, she had lost all her cattle and she was now looking at breeding donkeys as an alternative for draught power.

“All my cattle were wiped off by January disease. I have run short of draught power, therefore, I am looking for donkeys as an alternative means of draught power. Donkeys are resistant to diseases and can survive in harsh climate conditions.”

Echoing the same sentiments Lawrence Machinga, from Ward 13 under headman Masikati, said he was contemplating on buying donkeys. “January disease is a threat here. I do not have cattle now as a result of the disease. I lost all of my cattle in 2023. Draught power is now amiss thus production at the farm is negatively affected. I am now looking for donkeys”.

In the Birchenough arid region donkeys are being offloaded at a price of 3000 rand. “Donkeys are on high demand here in lower Birchenough. On average a donkey is going for 3000 rand. It is actually getting tough to get a donkey as demand is high,” said Jacob.

Donkeys are valued for their Demand especially in the draught prone areas which was also affected by the January disease which left many kraals empty worsening the current draught which was declared a national disaster.

 Unlike cattle, donkeys require only a small amount of daily dry matter intake and water supply, making them ideal for areas facing water scarcity and nutritional challenges with limited grazing lands and water sources.

These animals also can live well under low levels of water supply as it needs 15-25 litres of water a day.

However, the current water crisis in region 1 poses a threat to both livestock and human populations. And they is need of intervention.

Farmers in areas like Betera and Gwama are already experiencing water shortages, with major rivers drying up and pools disappearing due to the heat wave.

This further emphasizes the importance of alternative draught power sources like donkeys in the face of environmental challenges and the urge to teach people about climate change and how to go about.

Climate changes has severely affected dry regions in the  country , especially region 1 which on normal receives erratic rains but with the Elnino it only received a little , then bombarded by the January disease which left many herd of cattle empty .

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