Govt, Agribank to beef up national herd

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THE government has partnered Agribank in restocking the national herd whose numbers have since gone down to 5,3 million cattle, Deputy Agriculture (Livestock) minister Paddy Zhanda has said.

VENERANDA LANGA,SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

Zhanda made the remarks in Parliament on Wednesday after Zanu PF Murehwa North MP Tendayi Makunde demanded to know the government’s roll out programme to improve the national herd.

“The government is working on a programme to improve the national herd in terms of the qualitative outcomes yield per factor because some of the cattle herds, particularly in the communal lands, are really getting smaller and smaller,” Zhanda said.

“I must mention that the national herd used to stand at about six million cattle and we have approximately 5 300 000 cattle.”

Zhanda said the re-breeding programme was being funded by Agribank.

“We used to have a cattle finance scheme, particularly with the commercial sector to finance farmers. It was a concessionary finance scheme run by the Cold Storage Commission (CSC),” he said.

The deputy minister bemoaned the $4 million allocated for livestock farming under the 2014 national budget saying the amount was inadequate.

“Even if we have that kind of money, there is a shortage of breeding stock locally. We are looking at how best we can use some of the CSC ranches to embark on a massive cattle breeding system so that we can pass those animals to communal farmers,” he said.

Zhanda said there was also a worrying trend where only crop farming was being financed at the expense of livestock farming.

“People who are growing crops like maize and soya beans have been financed in the budget, but livestock farming has not been provided for,” he said.

He said there was need to embark on a programme to commercialise cattle as they were being kept in most communal lands as a way of wealth without looking at their commercial value.

“We want our people to sell at least two or three animals every year so that they can deal with their problems, particularly issues of school fees, fertiliser and so on. Therefore, we want to commercialise the issue of cattle,” Zhanda said.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Writer,

    Your story does not let me the figures of the previous herd. You wrote, “national herd whose numbers have since gone down to 5,3 million cattle…” Why writing down without giving figures of the corresponding year(s). I would argue and say, ” rose to 5.3 million…”

    You need to ‘scale’ when writing stories with figures.

  2. restocking on paper and orally is very easy,people have to be on the ground and working.the total price of importing breeds from SA is just above half the cost locally,so there is no excuse for not embarking on the programme.today we have $4million at Agribank come September either we have $3.5million still in the bank or none but no action on the ground.
    we should be working at provincial level and establish how many farmers want to procure how many cattle,not how many farmers want how much money.
    I agree with the Hon Minister that the money is not enough that money can get us about 300heifers per Province for the 8 Provinces,thats not much unless we target a heifer per farmer.
    At Provincial level its easier to identify the eligible or rather competent farmers that we can start with then if we get more money we extend to others.
    the procured herd should be govt property for e period thats how govt can monitor progress,we cant afford to have a beast meant for National Herd being turned into the Traditional Herd.
    let that 4million dollars work and monitor,having big monies is not the solution its a problem instead.

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