By Noah Pito in Hurungwe
Senator Sikelela Gumpo has launched an artificial insemination cattle breeding project to improve the size and quality of cattle in communal areas of Hurungwe and Nyaminyami districts.
In an interview recently, Sen Gumpo said the project is initially set to start as a voluntary project under the Hurungwe/Kariba Artificial Insemination Cattle and Goats Breeders Association.
If successful, Sen Gumpo said, the project would be spread across Zimbabwe.
“The Department of Livestock at the Chinhoyi University of Technology and Veterinary Services in Hurungwe will be offering all expertise and advisory services required in this project.
“The project will target about 130 000 cattle in the Hurungwe and Kariba districts before it replicates to other parts of the country,” Sen Gumpo said.
He said the project was a cheap way of increasing the country’s national herd.
“We are currently holding consultation meetings with the leadership in the areas concerned before the project takes off the ground.
“The chiefs, MPs, councillors and all stakeholders must be aware of this project before it is implemented in their areas. Chinhoyi University has offered us nine bulls of different breeds that we will use in the artificial insemination venture,” he said.
Sen Gumpo said the project would see the elimination of small bulls in the communal areas and establish viable beasts which can fetch at least $1 000 on the market.
“Through such a programme we also aim at generating quality product for the export market within the next five to ten years,” he said.
Sen Gumpo said the project seeks to empower mainly the communal and A1 farmers although commercial farmers will not be left out.
The scheme, he said, will be community-based and managed by the association for the benefit of the farmers while complementing Government efforts to revive the national herd.
“The project is also meant to facilitate better animal husbandry practices by farmers and from a herd revival initiative. It also reduces the inter calving period to around a year while also providing assistance in disease treatment and prevention, particularly in calves and the breeding cows,” he said.
“The project also stops in-breeding and accelerating cattle capacity to express traits like milk yield and draught power in a better way.”
He said unmonitored disease outbreaks, high interest rates and reluctance of the financial institutions to fund small scale farmers, high costs of importing new heifers and distributing them to communal areas as having been among major challenges in the growth of the national herd.
source: the herald