Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Haritatos giving the keynote address. He encouraged beef producers in Zimbabwe to embrace current innovations and trends to improve production.
The BEST project team attended the Zimbabwe National Beef School 2019 edition hosted by Zimbabwe Herd Book in Bulawayo. Various beef value chain stakeholders including Government, stock feed companies, animal breeders, veterinary drug companies, and livestock farmers participated. Presentations were from local and international livestock experts from Australia, Europe, United States of America and Namibia.
A total of 44 (36 males: 8 Females) participants from the BEST project, government stakeholders, BEST staff and farmers attended.
The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Honourable Vangelis Haritatos graced this prestigious event. In his opening remarks, he acknowledged the assistance from the European Union in funding BEST project. He was impressed with the partnership with private sector players as this will yield sustainable results.
The eighth Beef School offered an impressive presentation of cutting edge technology from animal breeding experts from America, Australia, Europe and Namibia.
Technology mainly cantered on adoption of precision livestock farming techniques for measuring productive, reproductive, physiological and other traits of economic importance in beef cattle. This ensures real time availability of information and improves performance of beef cattle.
Veld management, bush encroachment, cultivating pastures to feed cattle as well as control of theileriosis were take home topics for BEST beef producers.
Johan Mouton, Pasture Expert from Namibia, challenged smallholder farmers through the following equation:
“Bull + Cow + 5 tonnes dry matter = Calf.”
Furthermore, he explained that the only way to make beef farming lucrative is proper management of natural veld, to control bush encroachment, cultivate pastures to feed cattle and prepare nutritious hay for dry season feeding.
The Beef school was an opportunity for BEST team and farmers to learn better approaches to enhance beef farming, establish networks with value chain actors and appreciate the variety of products offered by private sector companies who exhibited during the event.