A local youth, Vengai Runyowa, who was given the opportunity to partner with the Agriculture Rural Development Authority (ARDA) under a public private partnership (PPP) in livestock production, has doubled the herd from 403 in 2015 to over 800 cattle this year.

The partnership is part of  initiatives by the authority to improve food security under the country`s economic blueprint, ZIMASSET.

ARDA`s Sedgewick Estate in Tsholotsho is into fulltime livestock production after the signing of the PPP agreement in 2015.

Under the livestock programme, the farm is producing a hybrid from Nkoni, Brahman and the Beef Master breeds.

The estate receives assistance from Midlands State University students on attachment who are highly involved in research to improve production.

ARDA Sedgewick Estate Livestock Project Manager, Mr Vengai Runyowa, said the success of the project should provide evidence to the youth that they have a critical role in the transformation of the country`s economy through agriculture.

“What we have said to ourselves is the Nkoni being hard as it is, the Brahman having fast conversion as it is and the Beef Master having a quick maturity rate, let`s bring them together and cross breed. As you can see in this maternity ward the kind of born, the kind of weight and the age that you can see from the cross breeding that we have been under taking here, we are very happy with the results,” he said.

ARDA Board Chairman, Mr Bazil Nyabadza said the livestock programme is part of the steps to improve food security under ZIMASSET, adding that there is need to inject more financial resources in training and skills retention so that the local youth can propel agricultural activities further.

“With the vision outlined by His Excellency [President Robert Mugabe], I think it is fair to say the education which was deposited in all of us is now bearing fruit. So this is the practical side of ZIMASSET specifically under the 10 Point Plan,” said Mr Nyabadza.

Currently, Sedgwick Estate employees 21 workers whose work is largely based on information gathered from the research undertaken to improve the quality and level of production.

Livestock production at ARDA estates is expected to improve the national herd, thereby improving food security in the country.