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Forget maize farming, focus on livestock: Zhanda


AGRICULTURE deputy minister (livestock), Paddy Zhanda has urged communal farmers in the drought-prone Lupane district in Matabeleland North province to dump maize production, as it was susceptible to frequent dry spells and concentrate on livestock farming.


Paddy Zhanda
Paddy Zhanda

Addressing communal farmers in Matshakayile village on Tuesday during the handover of 22 pedigree Brahman and Tuli bulls and 25 bucks to beef up livestock production in the area, Zhanda said crop production was too risky.

“We do not want to continue hearing people talking about maize production, but livestock farming. They (communal farmers) can only talk of maize production for use as stock-feed and for household consumption,” he said.

The livestock production project is funded by the European Union and implemented by local non-governmental organisations Linkages for Economic Advancement for the Disadvantaged and the Food and Agricultural Organisation.

Zhanda said livestock farming has “great potential to make a significant contribution to food, nutrition and income security, especially for households in the semi-arid and drier parts of the district”.

“The high frequency of extended mid-season dry spells that we have been witnessing in the district exposes our farmers to high risk of crop failure. This, therefore, leaves livestock production as an alternative main agricultural activity,” he said.

“Livestock production will also increase our farmers’ resilience to climate change-induced disasters and other shocks.”

Lead programmes monitoring and evaluation officer, Kudakwashe Chiriko said the EU-funded project includes sinking of boreholes, and rehabilitation of dip tanks.

“The whole project seeks to address a number of areas, among them, improving water supply for livestock and human consumption, improve household food and nutrition security and improving livestock marketing through planned development,” he said.

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