Zas partners ZCDC to boost national herd

HARARE - President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to officially launch an artificial insemination project in Manicaland on Thursday, aimed at improving indigenous cattle genetics, which should improve rural incomes ultimately leading to better livelihoods.

The programme, which is being spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (Zas) in partnership with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), will be launched at Gandauta Primary School in Chiadzwa.

The launch in Manicaland follows previous launches that have been done in Matabeleland, Insiza District with Zimplats and Midlands, Zvishavane, with Mimosa.

Roberta Katunga, the Zas spokesperson, said the project will soon be extended to Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East

“The launch will witness the first insemination programme as well as unveil the envisaged agricultural development model. Thereafter, this project will be expanded to targeted communities,” she said.

Katunga noted that the programme will entail the creation of Livestock Incubation Centres in Manicaland Province, where training in sustainable livestock rearing and crop production will be undertaken.

“The first phase will target inseminating 6 000 semen straws into a livestock population of 3 600. This should potentially produce 1 800 bulls and 1 800 heifers.  The second phase will increase the total semen straws to 16 000,” she added.

Zas has for the past six years been involved in the Artificial Insemination (AI) Project drawing a total of 500 straws annually from elite bulls exhibited at the Harare Agricultural Show.

Zas has an agreement with commercial farmers to empower communal farmers through the provision of improved cattle genetics.

The AI project is not genetic modification as the semen straws are not altered artificially or otherwise but are maintained in their original form as drawn from the bulls. However, the use of AI in livestock is because the process increases efficiency and reduces cost compared to conventional breeding.

The broad based objective of the programme is to improve communal livelihoods through capacitating communities in sustainable farming through training, creating awareness of the role of livestock in business, nutrition and food security, build a sustainable national agricultural ecosystem and grow an improved national herd.

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