The government has rolled out 45 bulls for Lupane and Nkayi as it seeks to improve the quality of the livestock for the small holder farmers in the two districts on Matabeleland North Province.

The programme comprises 30 Brahman as well as 15 Tuli bulls and is a pilot phase which will be spread to other parts of the province, once initial results have been released.

The farmers will be responsible for the bulls which were bought at 50 percent of the normal purchasing price after the government negotiated with suppliers.

Matabeleland North Provincial Livestock Officer, Mr Addmore Chikowa said the department of livestock production is already rehabilitating solar powered boreholes in the two districts to ensure an adequate supply of water during the dry season so that the condition of the livestock remains competitive in the market.

“We expect the condition to improve as most animals were having to walk long distances to access water. Most of these boreholes were down. We therefore expect most of our boreholes to be functional up to the next season and in doing so, we expect to have at least 90 percent calving without much difficulty,” he said.

A group of 10 to 15 farmers will share one bull and more will be purchased through a revolving fund to spread the programme to the remaining wards.

Lupane and Nkayi districts have a livestock population of 100 000 each and the figure is set to improve by between 3 percent and 5 percent following the launch of the bull programme.