NYAGATARE — Cattle traders in Nyagatare have abandoned the use of the weighing machines earlier placed at various cattle markets.
The machines have been out of use for the last two years and livestock farmers complain that they are being cheated by unscrupulous cattle traders as they can no longer rightly determine the financial value of their animals.
Farmers who talked to The New Times Monday claimed that cattle traders stopped using the machines in order to buy their animals at give away prices.
The farmers claim that ever since the machines broke down, nobody has ever repaired them-raising suspicion.
“It is very upsetting to find ourselves in this position,” farmers found at Ryabega trading centre, near one of the cattle markets, said in reference to the current trend of bargaining cattle prices without the knowledge of their weight.
Dr Justin Zimulinda, the provincial veterinary officer, said the machines became useless due to the previous quarantines which were instituted to control the spread of foot and mouth disease in the area. He explained that the markets were closed and cattle were being traded at farmers’ farms which rendered the machines useless.
Zimulinda however, said they would fix them if it’s affecting the farmers.
Farmers say their animals used to attract more prices while they used the weighing machines. A reasonable cow used to attract over Rwf600, 00, which has since dropped to Rwf400,000, according to the farmers.
All this is happening at time the farmers are tasked to meet various demands including compulsory subscription fee to buy land tilling tractors. The affected farmers have set up consultative groups among themselves in an effort to fix the problem.