AGRI PROFOCUS says it will support small-scale farmers by strengthening artificial insemination services to improve their dairy cattle breeds, says country director Claire van der Kleij.
Ms van der Kleij said artificial insemination was a viable business to sustain the livelihood of small-scale farmers as it was aimed at increasing the number of improved dairy cattle breeds.
According to the latest edition of the Agri Profocus newsletter, Ms Claire van der Kleij said the knowledge gained by farmers would help fight poverty and improve the livelihood of the communities. And Breeding Impulse managing director Renier van Vuuren observed that 80 percent of the cows from the local breeds were not ready for insemination as they first need deworming, vaccination and vitamins/minerals before they were ready to conceive.
Mr van Vuuren said the firm was keen to help develop small-scale and emergent livestock farmers.
He suggested that artificial insemination would be more viable and efficient if it was provided in a package, which includes insemination and animal health support.
Mr van Vuuren said there was no sustainable artificial insemination model for the private sector due to a lack of critical mass.
“Also to make a viable model it is essential to organise farmers. In addition, artificial insemination trainings should not only be given to the farm owner but workers should also be included in training sessions,’’ he said.
And Dutch consultant Reurt Boelema explained that farmers sometimes selected breeds that were not suitable for the Zambian climate.
He explained that cross-breeding of Jerseys with local breeds could produce suitable offspring.
Recently, Agri Profocus trained about 20 small-scale farmers from various dairy cooperatives in Southern Province in livestock artificial insemination to enhance productivity. The initiative was aimed at increasing the number of improved dairy breeds owned by farmers and in turn upsurge the volumes of milk received at the milk collection centres.
National artificial insemination centre officials conducted the training after calls from farmers to have skilled technicians for artificial insemination.