By Providence Maraneli
Farmers in Matabeleland South province have commended government’s artificial insemination programme which is meant to boost the national herd in line with the country’s livestock growth plan.
Farmers who took advantage of the ongoing Matabeleland South Agricultural Show to attend an artificial insemination programme being conducted by Agritex say the initiative is the answer to challenges being faced by livestock farmers in the dry region.
“We are so grateful to the government for this training. Our breeds can’t withstand the perennial droughts being caused by climate change, as such, this programme has the potential to improve our breeds,” a farmer noted.
Another said, “We learn that with artificial insemination it is easy to manage your herd as it allows you to know when you’re a going to have calves and the breed and this is good for business.”
“Our original breeds are now compromised and it is expensive to buy a bull. But with artificial insemination you can manage,” added another.
With the re-opening of the Cold Storage Company in Bulawayo likely to increase demand for beef cattle, the Zimbabwe Farmers Union is convinced that artificial insemination will play a critical role in reviving the sector.
“You see we are excited by the coming in of CSC and it will help in the revival of the beef economy especially in the region. And the programmes like artificial insemination will be handy in the sense that they create breeds that may generate a lot of money for the farmers,” said Zimbabwe Farmers Union president, Mr Abdul Nyathi.
Matabeleland South livestock officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Hatityi Muchemwa says government is seized with improving the national herd through re-stocking and genetic modification.
“As you know, the government launched the livestock growth plan that seeks to improve the national herd, artificial insemination is one such strategy and I feel it will help these farmers who lost quite a number of cattle due to drought.”
Government launched the Livestock Growth Plan in 2020 in a bid to resuscitate the national herd decimated by drought and diseases in line with agricultural recovery plan and the National Development Strategy One.