Community based small scale commercial cattle breeding programme in Mangwe district of Zimbabwe
Keywords:Indigenous cattle, Small scale commercial, Cattle breeding, Zimbabwe
The objective of the study was to assess the impact of the introduction of improved indigenous beef cattle bulls on productivity, herd population dynamics and socioeconomic factors in small scale commercial livestock production areas of Mangwe district in Zimbabwe. A semi-structured questionnaire was administered to all 20 participating farmers in the breeding scheme. The data collected included household demographics, herd structure, breeding practices, management, marketing, socio-economic impacts, challenges and impacts of withdrawal of funds on the breeding project by donors. Data analysis was perfomed using statistical package for social science (SSPS), version 16 for descriptive statistics. The herd sizes increased by 77%, 96%, 71%, and 60% for the White Brahman, Black Brahman, Tuli and Nguni, respectively. The highest number of offspring was sired by the White Brahman (4 per year per farmer).The Tuli and Nguni bulls contributed the least number of offspringof 2 per year per farmer. The mean age at first calving from the progeny of the White Brahman, Black Brahman, Tuli and Nguni were 36 ± 0 , 34,5 ± 2.12 , 33.75± 2.26, 35 ± 1.73 months, respectively. The main challenges affecting the programme were lack of adequate feed, uncontrolled mating and lack of functional fences. The withdrawal of support funds on the breeding programme resulted in collapse of the restocking program and lack of improvement of water points. It was concluded that improved indigenous cattle genetic resources can survive, reproduce under low input communal systems. Therefore, community based breeding schemes are a viable and sustainable option in improving beef production in the country.
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