By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
THE country’s beef and dairy cattle herd is set for exponential growth following the roll-out of an artificial insemination programme aimed at improving the quality and quantity of meat and milk.
This development comes against a backdrop of a dwindling cattle herd due to successive droughts, disease outbreaks and general inferior genetics.
Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) is pioneering an artificial insemination project in four provinces in a bid to improve the genetics in cattle breeds, which would result in bigger beasts and prolific milk-producing herds.
Speaking during the unveiling of various development projects at CUT, President Emmerson Mnangagwa hailed the institution of higher learning for embarking on the artificial insemination project.
“I commend the involvement of both communal and commercial farming communities in the university’s National Cattle Restocking Programme.
“I am informed that the School of Agriculture Sciences and Technology, in partnership with personnel from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement has started undertaking artificial insemination for cattle in Masvingo, Midlands, Matabeleland North, and Matabeleland South provinces,” said Mnangagwa, who is also CUT chancellor.
The university has also commenced the setting up of an agro-industrial park, which upon completion will house an animal feed processing mill and medicinal feed manufacturing unit.
These two innovations are designed to improve the nutritional aspect of supplementary feed preparations.
The university has a production line for vitamins and micro-mineral supplementary livestock feed.
A heritage-based animal medicinal livestock feed formula is being developed from the common tuber known as Zhombwe in Shona.
“Such innovations demonstrate how our national endowments can be utilised to create strategic products,” said Mnangagwa.