EU invests US$5.9M in Zimbabwe’s climate-smart livestock production

ZIMBABWE – The European Union (EU) in collaboration with the government of Zimbabwe has unveiled a US$5.9M project aimed at increasing the adoption of climate-smart innovations in livestock production systems in the country.

The project dubbed, Livestock Production Systems in Zimbabwe (LIPS-Zim) has been launched in Buhera District, Zimbabwe and is designed to identify, pilot and upscale measures for improved productivity in livestock production.

LIPS-Zim has the overall objective of increasing agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe’s semi-arid agro-ecological regions IV and V, contributing to the government’s agricultural transformation agenda.

These areas are identified to be prone to droughts and home to most of the smallholder livestock population.

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“The project is in line with Government’s agricultural transformation agenda and complements other efforts in the livestock sector, including the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) which is also funded by the European Union.”

LIPS-Zim Project coordinator – Dr Sikhalazo Dube

It also aims at improving surveillance, control of livestock diseases and strengthen policy support for feed and forage value-chains and sustainable active participation of local communities in disease surveillance and early response.

“While livestock plays a crucial role in smallholder farmers lives, the livestock sector in Zimbabwe is characterized by low productivity, feed unavailability, prohibitive feed costs, poor quality of animal genetics, animal diseases and frequent droughts are major constraints contributing to low livestock productivity,” said A. J. Masuka, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement.

“I would like to thank the European Union for funding the LIPS-Zim project that aims to increase incomes of smallholder farmers by building inclusive market systems that help to reduce/eliminate the involvement of middlemen along the value chain,” he added.

The four-year program is funded by the EU and supported by a consortium of local and international agricultural specialists from the Department for Research and Specialist Services, International Livestock Research institute (ILRI), the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the University of Zimbabwe, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD).

Speaking during the launch, LIPS-Zim Project coordinator, Dr Sikhalazo Dube said, “The project is in line with Government’s agricultural transformation agenda and complements other efforts in the livestock sector, including the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) which is also funded by the European Union.”

LIPS-Zim will conduct research on the technologies and models that can help to increase the adoption of business and climate smart feeding practices, adaptive breeds and animal management practices (stocking rates) that impact on livestock production while taking into account indigenous knowledge.

It will combine this with research on the epidemiology of diseases and the most efficient ways of controlling them.

The project is part of the European Union’s Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (DeSIRA) initiative.

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Launched in 2018, DeSIRA aims to contribute to climate-relevant, productive and sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems in low and middle-incomes countries.

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