Ex-elementary teacher basks in cattle ranching and farming success

The Chronicle

Nqobile Tshili, columnist
WHEN the government embarked on the land reform program in the early 2000s, Mr Knox Moyo (67) seized the opportunity by venturing into a lucrative agricultural business after choosing to quit his job as a primary school teacher.

Mr Moyo, a stud breeder and commercial farmer at Rouxdale B Farm in Ward 14 of Bubi District in Matabeleland North, started his business with just eight head of cattle and today he is a successful breeder with a herd prosperous with 150 head of cattle. With a beaming smile, the proud farmer said he had no regrets about leaving the classroom to take up farming.

“By profession, I am a teacher, so following the land reform program of the early 2000s, I quit my job and ventured into agriculture.

Since I quit teaching in 2002, I don’t regret quitting my job because the salary I get from farming is actually triple what I got as a teacher” , did he declare.

“Farming takes dedication and I started with eight cattle and without necessarily selecting a breed, I would buy whatever was available on the market.

Today, I have 150, who are of a better breed”.

His herd includes top quality breeds and he supplies the butchers with quality meat.

Mr. Moyo has managed to grow his herd by managing the breeding season of his cattle.

“I focus on the heifers and that’s what I pay more attention to.

Between February and March, I release the bull for mating purposes and I do this to ensure that my calves are born during the rainy season,” he said.

“I deliberately exclude bulls from heifers during other times of the season so they don’t have random calves.

If they calve randomly it forces you to feed them which is an extra cost but during the rainy season there is improved pasture.

If you feed your cows immediately after calving, you will find that in six weeks they will be ready for mating.

That’s why we hear statements like ‘my cow gives birth to two calves a year’, there is no secret to that except that she needs to be well fed,” Mr Moyo said.

“Even calves should be able to benefit from the milk so that they grow fast and are weaned at five months of age.”

Mr. Moyo lamented the lack of seriousness of small farmers who are unwilling to invest in their livestock, resulting in their animals succumbing to curable diseases.

“Herders need to know that farming is a job and a source of income.

You can sell just one or two chickens just to buy dip and there are areas where the government should intervene.

We need tools, we need tractors, mowers and balers just to get your feed,” he said.

“We wish the government could get involved so we get tractors and balers, but not getting a dip shows a lack of seriousness when it comes to animal husbandry.

You can’t lose $500 because you don’t want to part with just $10. »

Mr Moyo said pastures remained a challenge for farmers and urged herders to adopt new herding measures.

“The major challenge we face as herders is feed and the cattle need to be supplemented, the pastures get smaller and smaller as the herd grows. I have even taken steps to expand my feed “, did he declare.

“So when we received this land we had to form a committee of farmers where we did patrols so much that we approached Queens Park police station asking for a police base.

There is now a police base in Nkenyani.

Livestock is strategic to ensure that the country reaches an upper middle income by 2030.

The cattle herd is expected to increase to six million by 2025 from the current 5.4 million, following the launch of the Livestock Growth Plan (2020-2025) by President Mnangagwa last year.

The Livestock Growth Plan is expected to provide sustainable solutions to the challenges faced by farmers and herders through support from government, the private sector and development partners.

The plan was developed after realizing that livestock growth was stagnant, characterized by low production and productivity.

It is part of the Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy aimed at transforming agriculture into an $8.2 billion industry by 2025 and contributing to the achievement of Vision 2030.

According to the latest crop and livestock assessment report released by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, the increase in the national cattle herd is attributed to a reduction in disease-related deaths, especially tick-borne diseases and poverty-related deaths. , improved animal husbandry methods, improved pasture and feed thanks to the first rains received.

However, there are concerns that herders are unwilling to invest in their herds and the government must do its part to ensure that the national herd increases.

The director of Easi Seeds Zimbabwe, Mr Tinashe Mugadza, said herders should prioritize agricultural pastures for their livestock.

His business, which operated in the north of the country, has since expanded to markets in the Matabeleland region to ensure farmers have access to improved pastures.

“Due to the growing livestock population, pastures continue to shrink, so it is important that farmers venture into pasture ranching.

We have various products that support the cultivation of pastures where we have legumes such as alfalfa which we supply to farmers to improve their pastures,” Mugadza said.

“We have started to enter the market in the Matabeleland region, which is essential in the country because it is the commercial hub for livestock in the country. So it is important to support the breeders in Matabeleland and help the livestock national to develop”.

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