Zimplats has partnered the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) on a livestock revitalization initiative which will see the company improving livestock genetics of indigenous bulls through harvesting semen from bulls exhibited at the Harare agricultural show.
Zimplats Chief Executive Officer, Alex Mhembere said their partnership with ZAS denotes a noteworthy association between the mining and agriculture segments.
“As the mining sector, we are aware that we need to co-exist harmoniously with the community and we are delighted to be part of a multi-sectoral approach to revitalizing and reforming the Zimbabwean Agricultural sector.
“I wish to highlight that our journey as Zimplats in supporting community development through agricultural activities, is not new. Ten years ago we embarked on a $1m conservation farming programme that benefited 80 families in Mhondoro Ngezi.
“The launch of the artificial insemination project goes beyond basic expectations, this project is creating opportunities for local communities to actively play a part in contributing to national development targets.
“Our thrust for development as a country is founded on community inclusion and participation and this project provides a sustainable model for the shared value,” said Mhembere.
He added that the company resuscitated several dip tanks and donated 16 pedigree Tuli and Bonsmara bulls and 64 bucks (goats) to Mhondoro Ngezi community as part of their genetic improvement project.
“Three years ago Zimplats launched a commercial livestock programme within Ward 11 in Mhondoro Ngezi whose aim was to improve herd genetics and animal health whilst promoting commercial livestock production.
“To this end, the company resuscitated several dip tanks and donated 16 pedigree Tuli and Bonsmara bulls and 64 bucks (goats) to the community as part of a genetic improvement project which sought to increase quality livestock populations in the area.
“This season alone more than 40 calves have been born from that initiative. The success of this project has emboldened us to explore new opportunities to build on that initial successful experience,” said Mhembere.
He further noted that the programme will target inseminating 6000 semen straws into a livestock population of 3600.
“The company will work ZAS and with support from the Ministries of Mines and Mining Development and the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Settlement on this rural capacity building programme.
“This will entail the creation of Livestock Incubation Centres in Mhondoro, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, where training in sustainable livestock rearing and crop production will be undertaken.
“The programme will target inseminating 6000 semen straws into a livestock population of 3600. Once successfully running, the programme is expected to be self-sustaining in the long term.
“In this partnership, Zimplats will be responsible for funding this project while the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society, through the assistance of technical partners, will administer the provision of the semen straws, monitor project implementation and coordinate community training and awareness sessions,” said Mhembere.