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UZ biotechnology centre commissioned

Story by Peter Chivhima

Government’s drive to boost the national herd is on track after the commissioning of a Biotechnology Centre for animal disease research and control at the University of Zimbabwe this Thursday.

The government adopted a comprehensive approach to curb further losses and boost the national herd following a trying time during which the country lost huge numbers of livestock to the January disease and other infections.

Over and above those initiatives, history was made this Thursday after the commissioning of a Biotechnology Centre at the University of Zimbabwe for research diagnosis, monitoring, surveillance and control of animal diseases.

University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Mapfumo spoke highly on the importance of research and innovation for the economic development of the nation.

“The laboratories have modern equipment to allow handling and containment of highly infectious agents. The project is unique in that it will provide service across all the life sciences faculties, Government departments and the private sector. To this end, we recognise all the various stakeholders that participated in the conceptualisation of the project.

“The Biomolecular Platform has also benefited from other external funders and projects. Allow me to single out the CAZCOM, the Improved Livestock Production Systems in Zimbabwe (LIPS ZIM), and the VICTORIA Projects for providing funds that helped to procure critical pieces of equipment and consumables,” said Professor Mapfumo.

The commissioning of the project, a collaboration with development partners, including the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, dovetails with the second republic’s engagement and re-engagement agenda.

France Ambassador to Zimbabwe, His Excellency Laurent Chevallier noted, “I would like to thank the University of Zimbabwe and the entire government for launching the programme. The project is made to diagnose and control animal diseases. Am happy the project is one of its kind and the first one I witnessed during my first days here in Zimbabwe.”

French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development representative, Dr Mathieu Bougarel said the institute will go a long way in training students of Zimbabwe in research and innovation.

The laboratory is equipped with modern infrastructure and equipment to facilitate the diagnosis, surveillance and control of animal diseases.

The latest development comes at a time when the nation is already reaping benefits from various innovations being spearheaded by tertiary institutions under the heritage-based Education 5.0 model.

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