|Matabeleland South plans to set up genetic resource bank|
|Saturday, 11 August 2012 13:37|
Farming ReporterTHE Matabeleland South Department of Livestock Production and Development is planning to establish a genetic resource bank in a bid to try and preserve certain traits of animals that are becoming extinct and maintain pure breeds in the cattle hub.
Provincial Beef and Grassland Production specialist, Mr Geofrey Hove, said the region was renowned for cattle production hence it was important for that reputation to be maintained as well as a pure breed line in livestock breeding.
“Having a genetic bank will be advantageous for the region and country because one can tell the parentage or whole history of offsprings in livestock breeding and pure breeds grow very fast hence the turnover for farmers is high,’’ said Mr Hove.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president, Mr Donald Khumalo, said it was possible for a genetic bank to be established and it would help in the restocking exercise as pure breeds grow fast.
Pure indigenous breeds that originate from the Matabeleland region include inkone and thuli while the exotic pure breeds are Afrikander and brahman.
Mr Hove said it was essential to restock cattle in the region because there was massive relocation triggered by drought that has hit the area and because currently farmers are being encouraged to destock to save their livestock especially the older ones.
Speaking on measures being taken by various stakeholders to save the affected region, Mr Hove said farmers were being encouraged to form groups and buy their stockfeed in large quantities as National Foods, the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union together with Care International, have introduced a subsidized price for farmers who are buying huge quantities.
“Several stakeholders have come together to try and save cattle in Matabeleland South as they are the most affected and we are urging farmers to take advantage of these schemes,’’ he said.
Experts say the drought situation has been worsened in the region by the fact that it is difficult to access underground water as boreholes are not working and dams quickly run out of water.
Government has been urged to rehabilitate boreholes in Matabeleland region as not only animals are being affected but humans too.