CATTLE production in the Lowveld region of Chipinge used to be a headache for most peasant farmers as they lost head after head due to perennial droughts which hit the area.
The farmers are now breathing a sigh of relief following a cattle feeding program introduced to them by a non-profit making organisation, Feed the Future Zimbabwe Livestock Development Program.
The farmers who joined the Feed the Future program are now smiling all the way to the bank and have nothing to fear as far as dry spells are concerned.
The program has helped them to improve their breed and nutrition as well as acquiring key facilities like water in the home. All participating farmers have managed to sink solar powered boreholes worth US$8500 each in their homes.
Farmers such as Victoria Pencil and Normal Deruko of Maparadze village in Chipinge rural ward 29 have managed to increase their stock from 10 to 32 in the three years.
Angeline Garwe who resides in Kubatana Village, Chipinge rural ward 16 near Kondo said. “I started the program in 2016 when I had ten cattle but the head has increased to 32 of today. I have managed to build a house, fence the home and buy two heifers.”
Thinkmore Sithole and wife Precious Makuyana of Mabhiza Village in Chipinge rural ward 24 have managed to double their head from 2016.
“Our cattle multiplied from 8 to 16 and we have managed to fence our home among other developments,” said Makuyana.
Alec Muchini of Manesa village in Chipinge rural ward 3, Mutema uses a different approach to increase his breed; Muchini is into breeding using two methods, artificial insemination and in-calf heifer procurement.
“I did artificial insemination to 14 cattle and 7 managed to produce calves. I also bought 12 heifers and out of these 9 have bred. The breeding program has brought some positive changes in my livestock farming business,” said Muchini.
Sunungurai Gadha of Matandama village in Chipinge rural ward 4 near Tanganda boasts of 18 cattle. The farmer transformed her project from beef farming to dairy farming.
“This transformation has been necessitated by a cattle fattening program that I have introduced and is paying so well,” she said.