The Sunday News
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
THE Brazilian government has expressed interest in funding programmes aimed at improving the country’s livestock sector.
Speaking after a stakeholder consultative workshop on livestock and pastures initiative held in Harare last week, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union vice-president Mr Winston Babbage said the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) pledged to assist the country’s livestock farmers through facilitating pasture development and livestock traceability programmes.
ABC, affiliated to the Ministry of External Relations (MRE), is the agency of the Brazilian Federal government in charge of all international technical cooperation involving Brazil and other countries. ABC operates according to the guidelines of the Brazilian foreign policy (which are managed by MRE) and focuses on national development policies defined by the Government’s sectorial programmes and plans.
Brazil is the second largest cattle producer in the world after the United States. The livestock and pastures initiative meeting was attended by veterinary and pasture development specialists from Brazil as well as the country’s officials from the Department of Crop and Livestock and representatives from farmers’ unions.
“The Brazilians highlighted that they have funding for the pasture development programme but hinted that the fund will come through capacity building initiatives. They are also coming in with a livestock traceability programme similar to the one which the Department of Veterinary Services launched last year but it hasn’t taken off due to lack of funding,” said Mr Babbage.
Last the Government rolled out a new electronic livestock tracking system, referred to as the Livestock Identification and Traceability System (LITS) to insulate farmers against livestock loss and theft. The programme was launched in April last year and by June more than 80 000 cattle had been registered under the electronic tracking system.
More than 80 000 cattle have been registered under a new electronic livestock tracking system that is currently being rolled out across the country by Government. The LITS scheme is a prerequisite for sanitary and quality assurances when trading livestock on the international market.
Mr Babbage said it was of paramount importance for the country to embark on an extensive pasture development programme to militate against feed shortage particularly during the dry season.