Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation, Linkages for the Economic Advancement of the Disadvantaged (Lead) has distributed high yielding pedigree bulls and goats in Lupane District, Matabeleland North Province as it moves to improve the genetics of communal farmers’ livestock.
Speaking after the handover ceremony of 23 pedigree Brahman and Tuli bulls and 25 bucks to communal farmers at Matshakayile Village on Tuesday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Paddy Zhanda who is responsible for livestock production said the programme would go a long way towards improving communal farmers’ livestock genetics.
“This is a wonderful project. It’s exactly in line with our thrust of injection of new bloodlines in the communities so that we improve the genetics. So this is one of the best projects I have witnessed that has happened,” said Dep Minister Zhanda.
Department of Livestock Production and Development (DLPD) director Mr Bothwell Makodza who also graced the event said this will improve genetics of livestock in the country.
“It’s (programme) very important in that we are looking at genetic improvement because we have been emphasising on numbers rather than on the quality of animals and these bulls are actually coming in to complement that quality. This is the reason why this programme has come in so handy to the communal farmers”.
The handover of the bulls and goats was part of Lead’s livestock programme code-named: “Making a Living from Livestock”.
The project is funded by the European Union.
The project covers all the 28 wards of Lupane and targets about 19 000 households, which are directly or indirectly benefiting from the commercialisation of smallholder livestock project.
Cattle population stands at 104 538, goats at 61 00 and sheep at 8 600. The predominant cattle breeds are Nguni and Mashona while other breeds are Brahman, Tuli and Afrikaner.
Lead seeks to ensure an increased household food, income and nutrition security through commercialisation of an integrated and sustainable smallholder livestock sector in Zimbabwe.
To date the programme has rehabilitated 44 dip tanks and supplied 68 veterinary kits.
Farmers and extension personnel have also been trained on animal health and production.
“The project is concerned much about livestock and we are looking at a number of aspects within livestock farming, which is improving animal productivity and health. That’s why we have rehabilitated a total of 47 dip tanks, the project target was 22.
We have also done some feedlots, across the district as we constructed about five feedlots.
“We have also touched base in terms of water. We have drilled 15 new boreholes in Lupane and rehabilitated 44 boreholes.
Most of these boreholes are now connected to dip tanks and livestock water truss, some are used by communities to fetch water. We can’t talk about livestock without the water aspect,” said Lead’s monitoring and evaluation programmes officer, Mr Kudakwashe Chirigo.