Source: Command livestock distribution starts – Sunday News April 22, 2018
Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Reporter
THE Government will start distributing cattle under its $300 million Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme this week, officials said.
Matabeleland North Provincial Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) officer Mr Dumisani Nyoni who is also the Command Agriculture Provincial Co-ordinator said 200 cattle have already been bought for the official roll out of the Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme in the Matabeleland region.
He said of the 200 cattle, Matabeleland North would be allocated 100 while the other 100 would be distributed to Matabeleland South during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair. Thereafter the programme would be rolled out to all the beneficiaries across the country, targeting mostly farmers in Matabeleland, Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces.
“I can confirm that a team of National Command Agriculture was here (Matabeleland) last week and 200 cattle were bought to kick start the programme and these will be distributed equally between Matabeleland North and South during the Trade Fair period at an event to be presided over by the country’s principals,” said Mr Nyoni.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union Matabeleland chairman Mr Winston Babbage also confirmed the visit by the National Command Agriculture officials further stating that an initial disbursement of $8 million had been allocated to Matabeleland under the Special Livestock, Fisheries and Wildlife Programme for the purchase of breeding cattle.
“There is $8 million which has been set aside to buy cattle for beneficiaries of the Command Livestock Programme in Matabeleland and this will also see a five-year cattle breeding and pen feeding scheme being initiated. The National Command Agriculture team was down here trying to identify the breeds to buy but the prices somehow were very exorbitant,” said Mr Babbage.
He said the increase in cattle price might have been due to speculations.
“The price increases are not justified, it is clear that these farmers got wind that the Command Agriculture team was on the ground looking for animals to buy and then they decided to hike their prices,” said Mr Babbage.
He, however, said the National Command Agriculture officials should not interfere much in overseeing the programme in the region but should leave provincial teams to spearhead it.
“The National Command Agriculture committee should work with existing provincial structures not to dictate the pace. We have already put a lot of things in place and even set up a committee to come up with a model for the programme which best suits the province and the provincial committee is well acquainted with the situation in its area of jurisdiction,” said Mr Babbage.
The Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) started registering farmers that intend to participate in the broiler and cattle schemes last month.
Those intending to benefit from the cattle scheme are required to have the requisite infrastructure such as branding apparatus, fully fledged pens, storerooms to store stock feed in times of need as well as having the feeding bays, dipping facilities, loading and offloading ramps, adequate grazing land as well as access to water.
Matabeleland South Department of Livestock Production and Development provincial livestock specialist Mrs Simangaliphi Ngwabi who is also the provincial Command Agriculture officer said the registration of farmers for the broiler and cattle schemes was in progress.
“We are in the process of registering farmers and we are going to verify case by case to determine those that deserve to benefit. We are very excited that Matabeleland is benefiting from this livestock programme because its agricultural production is based on livestock and the fact that we are going to see the distribution of the animals and veterinary supplies is a plus,” said Mrs Ngwabi.-@DNsingo