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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Mat South making use of agro-innovation hubs to improve livestock genetics

Story by Providence Maraneli

With the country surging towards an upper middle-income society by 2030, the year 2022 will go down as the foundation on which agro-innovation was set, with various agro-processing and value chain centres being established across the country.

Experts in agriculture and animal science are convinced that the year laid out a foundation and set in motion a transformed agriculture sector as it concentrated much on agro innovations.

While the year saw the establishment of a Masau Value Addition Plant in Mashonaland Central and the animal medicinal feed factory and milk parlour in Chinhoyi, the cattle breeding powerhouse of Matabeleland South was not left out as it saw the establishment of cattle and goats innovation hubs which have a potential to transform the sector.

Acting Matabeleland South Provincial Agritex Officer, Mr Mkhunjulelwa Ndlovu said, “With Matabeleland South being largely a livestock-breeding province, the establishment of goat centres in Matobo, Beitbridge and Gwanda have helped the farmers because they provide knowledge and ways to improve the quality and the type of breeds. It has really transformed the sector and farmers are happy.”

With most projects having failed to take off because of lack of funding in the past years, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development has embarked on a new thrust of harnessing local resources and skills for development.

“This year, we were concentrating on agro innovations. For instance, if you look at what we did in Lupane we embarked on dry land agriculture agro innovations where we have awhole cycle where waste comes from chicken feed fish, a whole new cycle. We established paddocks at the Gwanda State University where we are trying to start a cattle innovation hub. In Mashonaland West, we established a milk parlour and in Mashonaland Central we established the masau value addition. A lot can be said about the innovations, but the major thrust is to do learning that is attached to reality. We want to live our dream of Education 5.0,” said Professor Amon Murwira, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development.

Government migrated to the pragmatic 5.0 Education Model as a way to produce students ready to create employment unlike in the past where universities used to churn out graduates waiting to be employed.

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