R24 million Nguni project launched in Limpopo

The chief executive officer of the technology innovation agency of the department of science and technology, Mr Simphiwe Duma (second from left) in conversation with from left Mr T Mathidi, Limpopo chairperson of the national emergent red meat producers organisation (REPRO), Ms Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba, MEC for Agriculture in Limpopo, and dr Shadrack Moephuli, ceo of the agricultural research council (ARC) at the launch of the R24 million Nguni cattle assisted reproductive technology project that was launched at Vuvha village in the Vhembe district of Limpopo..

Government is investing R24 million towards the national roll out of the Nguni cattle assisted reproductive  technology (ART) project of which the pilot launch took place at Vuvha village in the Vhembe district of Limpopo on Wednesday 1 February 2012.

The project, driven by the technology innovation agency (TIA) of the department of science and technology, is geared towards generating superior cattle breeds. This is done in partnership with the agricultural research council and Limpopo department of agriculture.

“The Nguni cattle art will improve not only the quantity but also the quality of the livestock of rural and emerging farmers and thus facilitate their entrance into the market. The project also addresses two of the government’s priorities, namely rural development and job creation,” said Mr Simphiwe Duma, chief executive officer of TIA at the launch.

According to him projects of this nature can assist in ensuring that sustainable employment opportunities are created in rural communities. “These opportunities will better the lives of the citizens of this country and culminate in the decrease of urban migration.

”I am pleased to be part of this historic event marking the first leg of a national roll-out of the Nguni cattle ART. In the next two months TIA will launch the project in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Gauteng,” said Duma.

The MEC for agriculture in Limpopo, Ms Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba said the importance of agricultural research and innovation in driving economic development and sustainable rural livelihoods of rural communities cannot be overemphasized.

“The scientific community has long indicated that the bull is the major profit driver in a beef cattle enterprise. However our production systems in the rural emerging cattle sectors are characterised by absence of good bulls as well as low reproductive rates. The application of the ART project is designed to address these problems of low productive rates in the rural emerging cattle sector,” said Letsatsi-Duba.

According to her the project will involve 2 125 cattle and 600 farmers in Limpopo alone. This should result in at least 400 good bulls being born yearly that can be utilized for several years. They should be valued at around R5,6 million per year, according to Letsatsi-Duba.

Limpopo News Service