ZAS livestock breeding program targets 23 000 heifers annually

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By Alois Vinga

ZIMBABWE Agricultural Society (ZAS) livestock breeding partnership program with six other private sector companies has projected the injection of 23 000 heifers into the agricultural sector.

Addressing delegates at the ongoing agricultural show, ZAS chief executive officer, Anxious Masuka noted that the project will enable everyone in the country to benefit from the mining sector’s proceeds.

“The Livestock Revitalisation Program (LRP) goes beyond the community share ownership trust’s initiatives which benefits only those who are geographically close to the mines. Through the initiative, partners will pull resources together and provide fertilization through artificial insemination in selected provinces by using genetics already available in the communities. The initiative will see 23 000 heifers being injected annually,” he said.

He noted that the prime objective of the program is aimed towards restoring Zimbabwe to the past status of dominating the meat exports market.

The private sector companies which have partnered with ZAS are MINEX, Cell Insurance, Zimplats, Mimosa Mining Company, Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Homelink.

The development comes at a time when Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe research papers entitled, “Policies and Regulations Impeding Growth of the Livestock Sector” recently identified a host of challenges affecting livestock production.

The paper notes that the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe currently contributes 11 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) and primary production of livestock is estimated to contribute 22 percent of the agricultural GDP.

It observes that the livestock sector is a major user of locally produced feed raw materials including maize, bran from both maize and wheat, soya bean cake cotton and molasses but current regulations discourage local production and use of these raw materials. Excessive annual registration fees for buyers and contractors of grain and oilseeds under Agricultural Marketing Authority statutory instrument (SI) 147 of 2012 and SI 140 of 2013 has led to increases in the cost of these materials in the stock feeds sector.

“Value added tax of 15 percent charged on molasses used in cattle feed is inconsistent with SI 273 of 2003 which zero rates byproducts used for feed production,” says the paper.