LIPS-ZIM’s engagement at the 113th Edition of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show
The Livestock Production Systems in Zimbabwe (LIPS-ZIM) project participated in the 113th edition of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show from the 28th of August to the 2nd of September 2023 fostered by the European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe.
The inaugural participation of the LIPS-ZIM project as part of Team Europe at the country’s largest agriculture networking event marked a significant moment for showcasing project materials from farmers, collaboration, and knowledge sharing on climate-smart agricultural technologies.
The show ran under the theme ‘Sustained Growth' and was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe on the 1st of September 2023.
The theme resonates with LIPS-ZIM’s overall objectives of increasing the adoption and scaling of climate-adapted, cost-efficient, and science-based livestock production systems and improving the surveillance and control of livestock diseases in Zimbabwe’s natural regions IV and V.
The annual show which attracts a plethora of exhibitors and visitors from various industry sectors and farmers from all over the country offered exposure for the LIPS-ZIM project to be represented and share knowledge on climate-smart technologies that are being promoted and to understand farmer perceptions on innovative technologies being developed and promoted.
The interactions also provided an opportunity for upscaling project activities to enhance positive impact in communities.
Exhibitions at the Show:
At the LIPS-ZIM exhibiting stand, a wide range of live forage plant varieties for supplementary feed were promoted such as velvet bean, lablab, lucerne, and brachiaria grasses to mention but a few. Exhibits were also in the form of hay bales and seeds, to make it easy for the audience to visualize and enhance understanding of knowledge shared about various fodder crops and grasses.
There were also pods and leaves of browse species such as acacia, Piliostigma spp. (masekesa) and mopane among others, commonly called the bush meal for livestock. These were exhibited to bring awareness about the identification and use of local resources to make home-based rations. At the stand, a hay bailer was displayed to aid in demonstrating the process of supplementary feed production from fodder.
On the other hand, information about the ongoing work on surveillance and livestock disease control was shared through the display of various tick samples collected from project areas. This was accompanied by printed materials of the animal health pedagogical toolkit with priority animal diseases sheets of the districts where the LIPS-ZIM project is being implemented.
Moreover, knowledge about the Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), foot and mouth disease (FMD), and tsetse fly were shared as they are highly significant in the history of infectious animal plagues. The audience, especially farmers, expressed much interest in learning about them.
The audience that visited the stand during the week sums up to 283 approximately with 64 % being males and 36% being females. They comprised of farmers, sales marketers from seeds companies, engineers for agriculture-based machinery, officers from the Department of Agricultural, Technical and Extension Services (AGRITEX), EU delegates, agronomy students, school children, and exhibitors from various entities.
Prominent issues that were raised included:
- sources where farmers can access forage seeds, especially mucuna and lablab.
- growing conditions in the variable climate factors and the nutritional contents of the varieties that were on the stand.
- Where machinery like a hay bailer can be sourced from and the cost.
A poultry farmer in Seke rural area was concerned about how to deal with bird flu and Newcastle diseases in the area. He said most farmers had resorted to disposing of their poultry around November each year to avoid losses from the death of their livestock. However, the farmer was advised to seek advice from the Veterinary Officer in the area to ascertain the problem with the birds.