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Communal farmers in stock feed production exchange programmes

Communal farmers in stock feed production exchange programmes

Story by Tafara Chikumira

THE country’s Livestock Growth Plan is on course, with communal farmers set to play a significant role in stock feed production to reduce cattle rearing costs.

Farmers from Chilonga Estate in Chiredzi are leaving nothing to chance in their quest to become outgrowers for the Lucerne Grass Project earmarked for the area.

The project, sponsored to the tune of US$60 million by Dendairy Company has seen 65 farmers embarking on an exchange programme in the Midlands Province.

The initiative is meant to equip the farmers with the requisite skills to produce the crop at commercial level.

“It has been an eye-opening visit where we were impacted with excellent skills with regards to the production of this crop. We have embraced this initiative, which is improving our lives as we move from subsistence farmers to commercial farmers. We are going to employ some of the practices leant here when we get back home,” said Chief Chilonga.

“They are learning the way we farm fodder here in Ward 2 Chirumhanzi, Zibagwe. At the moment, there is a shortage of fodder on the market due to the bad rains we experienced. But, in this exchange program, we are going to visit these farmers in Chiredzi and Masvingo, and see what support they may need to start the projects well,” said Chirumhanzi-Zibagwe farmer, Mr Basilio Mutosvori.

The government has pledged to continue supporting farmers with requisite technical and financial support to improve dairy farming in the country.

Masvingo provincial Permanent Secretary of State and Devolution, Dr. Addmore Pazvakavambwa said, “Today we have come to borrow skills in this exchange programme with local fodder farmers from Masvingo, Chiredzi. This will empower farmers and they are going to duplicate this as they propel and enhance fodder and agricultural production through the application of the smart dairy techniques.”

“Ladies and Gentlemen, fodder production is key to building a massive dairy and beef herd in Zimbabwe through the enhanced three-pronged approach of Breeding, Health and Nutrition of livestock,” said Midlands Provincial Director for Economic Development, Mr Kosheni Mtisi.

The Midlands province is currently producing 43% of the 100 million litres of milk produced per year through smart dairy techniques, with the government targeting to close the 30 million litres deficit.

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