The Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform has announced that the Okapya Livestock Development Centre (LDC) in the Oshikoto region will be upgraded and equipped with an artificial insemination facility to improve farmers’ access to better breeding resources.
This comes on the heels of the ministry’s recent announcement, in partnership with the National Planning Commission, to award a contract to an abettor for the upgrade of the existing slaughterhouse in Opuwo, Kunene area, as well as the contraction of Okapya LDC.
The funding will come from the European Union’s livestock support program in Namibia’s Northern Communal Areas (NCAs).
According to the Agriculture Ministry spokesperson, Jona Musheko inbreeding is a problem in most cattle herds in Northern Communal Areas (NCAs), impacting livestock output and reproduction.
“To overcome this challenge, extension and mentorship programmes will be implemented to promote bull exchange programs between villages, constituencies, and regions,” he emphasised.
Musheko said farmers in the Northern Communal Areas will be urged to castrate substandard bulls at an early stage.
He noted that the ministry’s Directorate of Agriculture Research Development and Directorate of Veterinary Services will monitor the centre and its activities.
Musheko said the Okapya artificial insemination centre seeks to provide farmers with subsidised insemination services in order to increase the quality of their herds and the breeding quality of animals in the Northern Communal Areas.
Musheko further stated that budgetary allocations will be provided through the ministry’s Operational and Development Budgets to maintain current infrastructure and build new infrastructure.
He said the Okapya LDC requires artificial insemination facilities in order to aid farmers with breeding programs, give training, and preserve animals of pure exceptional quality.
Musheko highlighted that the indigenous eco-type, particularly from the Kunene Region (cows and bulls), will be obtained from local farmers.
He said this will encourage breeding and conservation of the eco-type, which will be retained at Okapya LDC for future development.
Musheko stated that conservation and breeding initiatives for eco-types in the North Central, Zambezi, Kavango East, and West Regions are ongoing at various Livestock Development Centres.
“Okapya will be a centre for keeping high-quality Sanga and Nguni bulls from various areas of the Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) to ensure a diverse gene pool. The collected sperm will be frozen for future use, and farmers in the NCAs will be urged to use it to improve the quality of their herds,” he said.