On Tuesday, 29th October, 2019, more than 200 dairy farmers attended the first Dairy Breeding Summit which took place at the GART Livestock Development Centre in Batoka near Choma in the Southern Province of Zambia.
Hosted by the Choma District Dairy Cooperative Union, the event attracted small scale dairy farmers from various cooperatives of the Southern province taking part in the Zambian Dairy Value Chain Project (ZDVCP). The project is implemented by the German GIZ as part of the Green Innovation Centres for the Agriculture and Food Sector (GIC) financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The implementing partners SNV and ADT enriched farmers’ knowledge on dairy genetics and its impact on profitability and sustainability of milk production at farm level.
Despite the current challenges of extreme draught and the outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD), that were addressed in the opening speech by the Provincial Fisheries and Livestock Coordinator, Mr Charles Lwanga, most participating farmers were confident that appropriate dairy genetics can significantly contribute to an overall improvement of profitability.
Although farmers were aware of the positive long term effects of an investment into genetics, questions were raised on how they could access improved livestock genetics and how they could identify best suited breeds for local dairy production.
The ADT project team gave comprehensive answers to these and more by presenting the latest findings and learnings of the ongoing Zambian Dairy Value Chain Project.
Based on livestock surveys carried out in Southern Province the best suited dairy genetic is a crossbreed of local breeds, contributing their heat and disease resistance, with imported dairy breeds like Jersey and Holsteins with their tremendous milk production performance. Meanwhile, the optimum level of crossing depends on the prevailing management and farm system. The ADT project team stressed the importance and beneficial effects of regional genetically adaptation in order to improve farmers’ productivity.
The Zambia Dairy Value Chain Project further introduced a ‘Just-in-time insemination service’ for the Milk Collection Cooperatives (MCC) that will replace the common practiced insemination after hormonal synchronization which proved to be less effective and costly. Therefore, participating farmers now have access to selected bulls with semen straws in stock at the MCCs via the newly established ‘Insemination just in time’.
Using, the new App ‘iBreed’, inseminators and extension officers of the MCCs can now register appropriate crossbred bulls including photos while potential buyers can also select from the newly established pool of ‘market place for breeding bulls’’.
Besides ‘iBreed’, the presentation of the new App ‘e-Milk’ attracted lots of interest. ‘e-Milk’ simplifies administration and accounting of delivered milk at the MCCs and gives farmers timely information and verification on the delivered amounts of milk and facilitates payment.
The Breeding Summit provided the dairy farmers in attendance with latest practical information on how to embark on profitable dairy business as Mrs Muna Muleya from Monze MCC stated in her Vote of Thanks.
A few hours after the Breeding Summit, farmers witnessed the first rain fall of the upcoming planting season – a good omen.