Date: Wednesday, 24 February 2021: Mahikeng : The North West Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (NWDARD) is intensifying
efforts to improve the gene tic make up for cattle in the province as part of its Livestock improvement initiative.
The program aims to prioritise growth rate, fertility and milk production. This will be achieved by empowering
communal, private and land reform farmers so as to assist them to optimally produce livestock, particularly
cattle, with the required quality to be able to compete in the commercial value chain.
The Department is currently piloting the Artificial Insemination, Synchronisation in the Bojanala Platinum
District. The District has already spent a tune of R1, 2m from the Comprehensive Agricultural Support
Programme in 2018/2019 purchasing start up resources for farmers. The functionality of the project started in
July 2020/2021 through public private partnership approach.
To date about 200 breeding cows has been synchronised and inseminated, embryo flushing was done on 10
breeding stock of one of the volunteer farmers. Other beneficiaries of the program are local producers who
have after an intensive training volunte ered as the first batch of participants. So far about eleven subsistence
and smallholder producers each availing between 10 30 breeding cows have embraced the initiative with a
hope of increasing their calving percentages which will eventually increase the ir cash flow.
The priority bull breeds for insemination includes Bonsmara, Simmertaler, Brahman, Simbra, Boran and Nguni.
The pilot programme will begin its reviews through pregnancy diagnosis during March 2021 for all inseminated
As part of the commitments to beef cattle production support, MEC Desbo Mohono for NWDARD indicated that
the Department will continue to create an enabling environment for farmers to help them to improve their
production through improved animal i.e Natural breeding and Assisted Reproductive technology such as
Artificial Insemination. She emphasised that the initiative is bound to assist farmers in ways needed to make
the agricultural sector a more economical one, thus leading to a general upliftment of the farmers and the
MEC Mohono said that the beef cattle production is a developmental vehicle that carries great potential to
contribute to the province’s populace by enhancing food security and ultimately improving the quality of life of
communities in a sustainable manner. . “Livestock Improvement plays an important role in poverty alleviation
and the eventual improvement of livelihood,” MEC emphasised.
She further said that through this programme farmers will be able to increase their profitability since access to the competitive beef industry markets will be improved.
In its infancy stage, the pilot programme saw voluntary support of private sector partners, Zoeties as well as
Embryo Plus. With the two companies’ extensive experience in effectiv e breeding, the Department saw a
smooth running of the pilot programme. Inclusive of this support, NWDARD has established a team of role
players to ensure effective implementation of the game changing initiative and those include livestock
specialists, Sta te Veterinarian, Engineers, Farmers including those who have a wealth of experience in artificial
insemination. The team is expected to bring in their knowledge and expertise to enable farmers to exploit
opportunities within beef production value chain.
One of the beneficiaries, Bojanala District based farmer, Mr Isaiah Nke appreciated the initiative. Nke is one of
the farmers who have volunteered 20 breeding cows to be artificially inseminated. He embraced the efforts by
government and wished that more far mers can come on board. Although he has never thought of it, Nke said
Artificial Insemination was one breeding methods which was cost effective. He was looking forward to more
improved livestock. He called for the Department to invest in training farmers a bout the method. He said the
process comes with general evaluation of livestock and that would benefit farmers as some are sitting with
livestock that is no longer economically viable.
The Department plans to implement the artificial insemination programme
further in the Bojanala District in
the year 2021/2022 before rolling it across the North West province.
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