Farmers, agricultural service providers, and others along the livestock value chain all benefit from livestock production. The livestock industry in Zimbabwe is mostly based on subsistence farming on a small scale. Though cattle are crucial to rural economies, productivity is poor. Causes include farmer behavior, high feed prices and limited feed options, low animal quality, illness, and drought. Increasing cattle productivity via climate-relevant techniques including feed management and conservation, water harvesting, and manure management has been identified. The low adoption rate is a result of many factors, including a lack of knowledge about the challenges farmers confront, a lack of resources available to farmers, and a hostile atmosphere. Because the communally owned dip tanks are not being maintained and because there is not a steady supply of acaricide, there has been an increase in the number of cattle deaths caused by tick-borne illnesses. Livestock is also being affected by other vector-borne illnesses. Animal illness prevention and surveillance are inadequate. Also, the distribution of veterinary services falls short of expectations (disease surveillance and vaccination coverage).
Role of animals in Zimbabwe’s agriculture
Zimbabwe’s rural populations rely heavily on livestock for a variety of direct and indirect subsistence needs. Keeping livestock has several benefits, including providing food, money, and manure, used in place of agricultural machinery and transportation, and raising one’s social standing. The many advantages of livestock farming prove that animals are crucial to the economy, culture, and survival of Zimbabwe’s farmers.
Livestock also plays an essential part in the success of Zimbabwe’s production systems. Various agroecological zones and production methods inform the various livestock management systems. There are two main types of manufacturing systems: unified and diversified. This depends on whether or not the farm also engages in other businesses, such as crop production, or whether or not animal production is the only business. Zimbabwe’s dominant production systems are classified as mixed. Livestock and crop farming may be highly integrated into certain mixed systems, while in others the connection is minimal. Nomadism, which is often linked with Zimbabwe’s only livestock systems, has been on the decline over the years owing to urbanization, decreased land availability, rising human population, and the effects of climate change.
How to cope with the problem?
The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) the government is providing training to rural farmers, which is being led by the voluntary Livestock Development Committees (LDCs), on the environmental and social management of dip tanks. This training includes the safe and secure handling and disposal of dipping chemicals, conservation of soil and water, waste management, effluent disposal, and constitutional reviews for improving the governance of dip tanks, amongst other topics. Veterinary professionals have discovered that immunizations and routine tick-dipping have significantly reduced the number of instances of tick-borne diseases as well as the number of fatalities that are caused by tick-borne diseases by as much as one hundred percent in certain regions. Animals that are healthier, produce more meat and milk, and command better prices on the market as a consequence of vaccinations and routine dipping have benefited from these practices.
Enhance mechanization of Zimbabwe’s agriculture
Zimbabwe’s farmers would be better served by investing in modern agriculture machinery like Massey Ferguson tractors or New Holland tractors, farm implements, combine harvesters, etc., and reducing their reliance on animals for farm traction. Zimbabwe’s government may provide a hand with agricultural mechanization if it made it simpler for private tractor dealers in Zimbabwe like Tractors Zimbabwe to keep up with the demands of local farmers for mechanization. The government can take action in a number of ways by providing public goods like knowledge and research; encouraging innovation in the use of multi-functional tractors; by providing capacity-building activities like training and study tours; by providing incentives for private importation and service provision; and implementing an effective national strategy to make any involvement consistent and transparent. Tractors Zimbabwe may be able to help the country’s smaller farmers afford tractors by providing them at subsidized rates. Tractors Zimbabwe, one of the most prominent tractor dealers in Zimbabwe, might be a boon to Zimbabwe’s small-scale farmers.Tags: agriculture, farming, machinery, tractors, zimbabwe