The livestock artificial insemination programme has kicked off in Matabeleland South Province with at least 2500 animals being targeted under the initiative aimed at improving the quality of herd in the province.
In a bid to boost the national herd, the government working with Zimplats and the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) recently adopted the artificial insemination programme, which is already in full swing in Matabeleland South Province.
Veterinary Service Department Provincial Officer, Dr Enat Mdlongwa said the province was allocated 2500 semen straws for the programme, adding that small scale farmers in Beitbridge have started having their animals artificially inseminated with Gwanda, Insiza and Matobo districts also in line to benefit.
“The genetics of animals have become very low, we are seeing a lot of very small animals so we are saying let’s bring in animals from outside to improve the genetics of our livestock,” said Dr Mdlongwa
Dr Mdlongwa attributed the poor quality of cattle in the province to inbreeding and urged farmers to castrate the types of bulls they have so that they benefit from the programme that will use the Boran and Tuli breeds.
Gwanda Farmers Association committee member, Cde Andrew Ndlovu expressed gratitude to the government for its commitment to uplifting the economy of the cattle ranching region while other farmers pledged to ensure that the programme is a success.
Under the programme, the government is targeting inseminating 6000 semen straws into a livestock population of 3600 and anticipating to produce 1800 bulls and 1800 heifers.
The cattle population in the country stands at around 5,489 million, while the national calving rate was 45 percent in the 2016 /2017 season.