Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Smallholder farmers have been urged to consider artificial insemination as a way of rebuilding their herds which have been reduced by tick-borne diseases.
Most smallholder livestock farmers lost their cattle to tick-borne diseases, a disease that has claimed over 80 000 cattle countrywide.
Advising farmers at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show, Terraine Agro Solutions director Mr Tineyi Chimutanda said the technology will also enable farmers to improve their breeds.
“Artificial insemination can help smallholder farmers especially those who cannot buy hybrid bulls. It is expensive to buy a bull for breeding, but a farmer can get a good breed through artificially inseminating his cows. Smallholder farmers will be able to get the best traits at a low cost.
“Through artificial insemination, a farmer can plan on the best season to breed his cattle and can also control breeding time to avoid lack of nutrition and shortage of pastures,” he said.
Mr Chimutanda also urged farmers to consider venturing into raising bulls for breeding as it is also a lucrative sector.
“Farmers can make a lot of money by raising cattle for breeding rather than for meat,” he said.
Livestock farmers have been affected by tick-borne diseases that have affected most smallholder farmers, wiping herds in some instances. Most farmers at the show told The Herald that they were left with no oxen for draught power.
They said they were considering rebuilding their herds, but were afraid the efforts could be futile if the diseases are not eradicated.
Mr Chimutanda said farmers should prevent the spread of the disease as this was much cheaper than curing.