Boost for national beef herd

Shangani Holistic Ranch has partnered with Government to boost the country’s national beef herd in line with the Livestock Growth Plan. 

The ranch has provided six Nguni bulls to be shared by more than 400 small-scale farmers in Shangani area, Matabeleland South. 

The Livestock Growth Plan, which seeks to grow the livestock sector to a US$1.9 billion economy by 2025, was approved by cabinet in August 2020. 

Key strategies of the Livestock Growth Plan entail the following components: improvement in animal nutrition; genetics improvement; improvement in animal health; climate change adaptation and small stock production; development of markets and trade infrastructure and resource mobilisation.

Livestock production in Zimbabwe is an important source of income and a safety net for millions of people, particularly rural women and youths and as such is a significant contributor to agricultural GDP. 

In addition to the bulls, the beneficiaries from Ward 18 in Shangani in Insiza District also received veterinary kits and medicine to treat the animals under the Shangani Holistic Livestock Project. 

The country’s national beef herd recorded a marginal growth of 0.6% from 5,478,648 cattle in 2020 to 5,509,983 in 2021 while the cattle mortality rate declined from 11.1% in 2020 to 8.86% in 2021. 

The decline in mortality rate follows interventions by the Government through the $500 million Presidential Tick Grease Blitz programme, which was launched by President Mnangagwa in November 2020. 

The tick grease programme is in line with the National Development Strategy 1 which prioritises animal health and livestock production through strengthening farmer knowledge and skills in livestock production. 

Livestock diseases are the major cause of beef cattle, sheep and goats deaths. Government is already upgrading the Presidential Tick Grease Programme and intensifying the Dip Tank Rehabilitation Programme. 

At least 432 beneficiaries in Shangani were awarded certificates after they underwent a training programme on how to look after the special breed under the Shangani Holistic Livestock Project. 

The area is predominantly inhibited by the the Xhosa people. The Shangani Holistic Livestock project seeks to economically empower the local villagers who have a rich history of owning Nguni cattle, a breed that is also a pride in the Nguni culture.