THE Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) in conjunction with Zimplats will on Friday launch a livestock programme in Matabeleland South and North provinces aimed at boosting the national herd.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
In a statement yesterday, ZAS said following national consensus on the need to revitalise communal livestock and production to improve livelihoods and mitigate climate change, Zimplats has partnered them in a rural capacity building programme to be launched in Insiza under the theme Shared Value: Improving and Sustaining Livelihoods.
“The programme will entail the creation of livestock incubation centres in Mhondoro, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, where training in sustainable livestock rearing and crop production will be undertaken,” the statement read.
“The first phase will target inseminating 6 000 semen straws into a livestock population of 3 600. This should potentially produce 1 800 bulls and 1 800 heifers. The second phase will increase the total semen straws to 16 000.”
ZAS said the programme should be self-sustaining in the long term.
“This intervention recognises that farming models need to change in order to create sustainability. Sustainability is the basis for replicability. The current communal system, which had its roots in the colonial era, no longer supports a sustainable farming ecosystem,” the statement read.
ZAS said the proposed initiative sought to introduce livestock production methodologies that support general agricultural production and enhance environmental farming practices.
“In addition, this programme will also empower communal farmers with better livestock rearing practices so as to ensure sustainability.
“This project envisages an up-scaled model to a more holistic livelihoods improvement programme, encompassing climate-smart agriculture for increased crop productivity and higher yields, increased production of silage for the improved livestock and enhanced family nutrition through dairy milk production.”
Matabeleland South and North provinces are considered as the country’s cattle hubs.