Blessing Rwizi Farming Correspondent
CHIMANIMANI West legislator, Cde Nokuthula Matsikenyeri, on Tuesday urged smallholder farmers in Chimanimani to improve their livestock handling infrastructure as part of preparation for the Command Livestock initiative set to be spearheaded by Government.
The Command Livestock Programme is an initiative aimed at boosting the country’s national herd and has potential to unlock a breeding system that meets the gradually mounting global protein demands.
The growing world population is demanding more animal protein – but currently consumption – is at odds with the ability to feed or produce.
Addressing farmers at a cattle field day at Zvokuitirwa Dip Tank (Ward Three) of Chimanimani West, Cde Matsikenyeri said the refurbishment of Nenohwe, Hot Springs, Chaseyama, Chakohwa and Nechitima dip-tanks by the Pioneer Cluster Group was a positive step towards Command Livestock.
Pioneer Cluster consists of members from the five villages who pooled their resources together early this year and came up with a committee responsible for the rehabilitation, construction and management of livestock and livestock handling infrastructure.
Since the beginning of this year, the project has managed to bring uniformity at the five dip-tanks, educate farmers about good animal husbandry practices as well as financial literacy which encompass handling of finances meant for any developments at the dip-tanks.
The livestock field day – the first of its kind in Chimanimani West – was jointly organised by the Pioneer Cluster and the Department of Veterinary Services. Its aim was to award farmers with the best cattle, the best dip-tank among the five as well as celebrating the achievements made so far. The winners walked away with certificates and prizes sponsored by Cde Matsikenyeri and the Department of Veterinary Services.
“Let us set a foundation for the upcoming Command Livestock Programme so that when Government starts disbursing livestock to farmers, Chimanimani will be well ahead. The way we manage our livestock and develop our infrastructure determines our ability to participate in the programme. Let us work closely with veterinary officers to keep our animals in good health, brand our cattle and quickly report to the police in case of any thefts. Most importantly, let us all be drivers of our cattle and keep them away from the roads to avoid loses,” said Cde Matsikenyeri.
“The Command Livestock Programme aims at benefiting all Zimbabweans, despite the political parties that we support. Let us work together as a team to protect our animals and improve our dip-tank sites,” she added.
Pioneer Cluster chairperson, Mr Cephas Tsinakwadi, said: “Work is still ongoing at the dip-tank sites and animal health has improved since the establishment of the committee. We are capable of participating in the Command Livestock Programme and we are more than ready now.” The Command Livestock Programme will see Government promoting commercialisation of cattle farming in Zimbabwe and creating markets for farmers.