AfDB benefits rural cattle farmers


MASVINGO-The African Development Bank (AfDB) has brought relief to farmers who lost their cattle to the deadly January disease in Masvingo Province by distributing heifers for restocking.

The distribution of the heifers is being done under the Special Emergency Assistance Fund (SEAF) initiated by the African Union and funded by the AfDB through a US$300 000 grant to replace 50% of the cattle lost to January disease.

Saul Muperi heifer scheme beneficiary.

The Province has about 1.2million cattle and a quarter of that was lost to January disease last year.

Recently 21 cattle farmers from Masvingo were the latest beneficiaries of the programme at the handover ceremony held at Masvingo Agricultural Showgrounds.

The handover ceremony was presided over by the Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Ezra Chadzamira with several senior government and bank officials also in attendance.

The SEAF programme started last year in Gutu District where 22 beneficiaries received heifers as it was the most affected area by the January disease and those who benefited last Tuesday were selected form Masvingo South, North, West and East.

After receiving the heifers the beneficiaries were also given certificates showing that one has received the Presidential Heifer Scheme, tick grease and Deltamethrin Deltaraid Pour-on for the control of ticks, biting and nuisance flies.

Masvingo Province Director of Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services Caleb Mahoya, Chief Animal Health Inspector Patricia Chidziya, Masvingo District Development Coordinator Roy Hove, Chief Bere, Chief Zimuto, Chief Nyajena and Chief Nemamwa were also in attendance.

Minister Chadzamira said that, “The heifers were distributed to communal livestock farmers from selected districts according to the criteria set by the project funders, furthermore these beneficiaries were identified with the assistance of the local chiefs.

‘’I urge the beneficiaries to maximise the opportunity presented to them by the Special Emergency Assistance Fund Project and the Government of Zimbabwe to scale up productivity.”

The AfDB also did an audit and verified the 21 beneficiaries independently and were satisfied that the cattle are going to those in real need of a kick start after losing their entire herds.

 “This is an African initiative solving African challenges, we would like to thank the chiefs who helped us in selecting the deserving beneficiaries and this programme is in line with the Government plan of Rural Development 8.0 focusing on the vision 2030,” said Mahoya.

Chidziya urged farmers not to have one kraal but to have 2 or more for rotation in case of mud during the rainy season, as this will help them not to lose their cattle due to diseases.

Branding of the cattle helps in easy identification of the cattle using the provincial and district signs hence lost cattle won’t be sold on auction.

Chidziya informed the guests that the cattle was a special breed from Matopos and that the President was behind the scheme to fight poverty in the country.

The government is preparing to roll out an artificial insemination programme next year in all parts of the country where new genetics, especially from locally adapted breeds will be introduced to reduce the problem of inbreeding and aim to improve the calving rates.

Saul Muperi who is blind was one of the beneficiaries who was very happy to have received cattle under the programme for he had lost all his livestock in January and showed his gratitude through dancing when he was receiving his cattle documents.

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