The government is working to ensure that farmers run livestock as a business.
This was said by Acting Chief Director Veterinary Services Dr Pious Makaya during a YAFM and Great Dyke TV virtual conference running under the theme ‘Uplifting livelihoods through sustainable growth of the national herd’ held this Wednesday.
Dr Makaya underscored the centrality of cattle in communities and the contribution of livestock to the rural economy.
“Livestock production in Zimbabwe is an important source of income and a safety net for hundreds of thousands of people, particularly rural women and youth, and is a significant contributor to agricultural GDP.
“Government is making efforts to ensure that the livestock sector is run as a business to ensure that it makes significant contribution to Zimbabwe’s socio-economic growth.
“Under the Livestock Development Plan government is focusing on animal nutrition programme; a genetics improvement programme; an animal health programme; a climate change adaptation and small stock programme; the development of market and trade infrastructure; and resource mobilization,” he said.
Aware of the impact of diseases on cattle and the need to forge sustainable partnerships, Dr Makaya outlined some of the initiatives government is taking to ensure growth of the national herd.
“The government is thus taking initiatives to enhance disease management, infrastructure and animal genetics as it angles to grow the national herd.
“Under the Livestock growth plan, government launched in November last year the presidential Blitz Tick grease scheme, the dip tank rehabilitation, genetic improvement and borehole drilling.
“To improve the national herd the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement in partnership with the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society, ZAS has collaborated with mining companies on a Livestock Revitalisation Programme through artificial insemination, he said.”
Minex Chairman Munyaradzi Hwengwere described the relationship between mining and agriculture as that of Siamese twins and stressed the need for miners to invest part of their earnings in local communities.
“The biggest contributor to capital in Zimbabwe is mining but we also know that mining is finite and resources at some point get exhausted, agriculture is infinite. As long as there is human beings there will be food and agriculture, so every miner operates within a context where there are communities.
“Generally those communities are into agriculture and most miners use water for whatever they do. Most miners fund CSR and if that capital is directed to the community it will reduce the tension between communities and miners, allow the miner to operate and ensure that the social licence is secured by the miner.”
Hwengwere saluted mining companies who have partnered ZAS, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement and local communities in the livestock revitalisation programme.
“The livestock revitalisation programme is a major demonstration that miners work with their communities and work with the agriculture ministry to fund a programme that unlocks value within the livestock sector that will have both the quality and quantity of the national herd improving in our country,” he said.