Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) has in conjunction with mining companies artificially inseminated 10 000 cattle in communal areas as efforts to revitalize livestock in the country gathers steam.
The programme also aims to improve the breeds of cattle in the communal areas which have declined in recent years owing to inter breeding.
According to Zimbabwe’s ministry of lands, agriculture and rural resettlement 90 percent of cattle in Zimbabwe are in the hand of small holder farmers.
About 68 percent of the cattle are owed by communal farmers, 11 percent by A1 farmers and seven percent by those in the resettlement areas.
ZAS president Ngoni Kudenga said the exercise was now hamstrung by the Foot and Mouth disease outbreak.
“Over the years we have witnessed that in the communal areas the cattle are getting smaller owing to inter breeding hence we decided last year in partnership with mining companies to artificially inseminate cattle. We have to date done about 10 000 straws before the Foot and Mouth outbreak affected our operations,” said Kudenga.
Zimbabwe used to export beef to the European Union (EU) before stopping owing to outbreaks of diseases and significant collapse of quality of the national herd.
Zimbabwe is currently fighting an upsurge in tick borne diseases which have claimed over 3000 cattle since late last year.
However, government has committed to restocking the national herd and a draft livestock policy produced is awaiting cabinet approval.
The draft policy gives guidance on the development of specific sub-sector strategies that include economic diseases such as Foot Mouth Disease, New Castle Disease, Rabies and Anthrax.