Story by Lisa Masuku
GOVERNMENT is working on strengthening the livestock policy to grow the national herd which has been sitting at around five million for more than 10 years.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Honourable Davis Marapira says the strengthening of the livestock policy through introducing measures to safeguard the slaughtering of breeding heifers and cows will help enhance the national cattle population.
The need to strategise to grow the national herd came under scrutiny when Honourable Marapira toured one of the country’s livestock medicines manufacturing entities, Coopers and Shumba group of companies in Bulawayo.
“As the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development we are more serious about developing our cattle population. In the last 10 years we have been told that our cattle population is 5 million. There has been no growth, the reason is that people are slaughtering females, heifers because of that the policy we have as government is to make sure we safeguard the slaughtering of breeding heifers,” said Hon Marapira.
Besides the protection of breeding heifers and cows from slaughter, government is also employing the use of artificial insemination to grow the national herd.
“At the same time we are looking at artificial insemination to grow our cattle population. As government we import semen from all over the world and we also generate semen again from our local bulls and make sure that our rural areas can access good quality semen to improve their breeds,” he added.
Government’s artificial insemination programme is proving to be affordable compared to buying bulls for cross breeding.