Over 3000 farmers have registered under the command livestock programme in Matabeleland South Province, and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement says only those with a proven track record in animal husbandry will be prioritised.

The command livestock programme was launched by the government in February this year and has attracted a huge interest amongst farmers.

The initiative that is meant to boost the national herd has already seen 66 farmers drawn from Matabeleland North and South provinces receiving 200 heifers.

In an interview with the ZBC News, the Provincial Crop and Livestock Specialist in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement , Ms Simingaliphi Ngwabi said only those who meet the criteria will benefit from the programme.

“We are actually looking for farmers with a track record, those who know what they are doing. In fact the programme is meant to boost farmers who are already in production and have the technical knowledge,” he said.

The ministry also expects farmers who have applied under the programme to have the requisite infrastructure, access to dipping services, kraaling pens and general capacity to manage their animals.

Under the programme, farmers are given a loan which comes either in the form of money or heifers and is payable over a five year period.

The command livestock programme is also meant to improve the quality of animal breeds through artificial insemination.