Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Farmers in Buhera are now reaping the benefits of artificial insemination in improving the breed of their cattle, which has resulted in their beasts fetching higher prices. Artificial insemination is the process of collecting sperm cells from a male animal and manually depositing them into the reproductive tract of a female. It is used instead of natural mating in many species of animals because of the many benefits it can reap.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union Manicaland provincial manager Mr Daniel Mungazi said farmers in Buhera had received training on how to use artificial insemination three years ago.
“In Buhera, we had noticed that the quality of cattle breeds had gone down and we held training workshops for our farmers about three years ago, and we have seen that those farmers are now seeing good results.
“You find that their calves are now being born weighing four times as much as they used to three years ago. So, they basically fetch better prices when they go to the market. Our farmers now appreciate that livestock farming is a business and it needs to be done properly to realise maximum benefit in terms of income,” he added.
According to experts, natural mating is a stressful process that has a higher tendency to result in injuries or accidents of both the animals and producer, while artificial insemination can reduce many of those risks. The process is also believed to reduce the risk of transmitting diseases. Mr Mungazi said they had started to train farmers in other districts on the importance of artificial insemination in improving livestock breeds.
“Knowledge on artificial insemination has been low, but we have been carrying out farmer training to increase awareness. We teach them the technicalities of artificial insemination including the ideal time to inseminate and how to do it properly. We also try to teach them how to separate the animals to avoid mating until artificial insemination is done,” he said.