Focus on status and prospects of conservation and sustainable use of indigenous livestock genetic resources in Zimbabwe
Keywords:Conservation, Indigenous, Livestock, Genetic Resources, Zimbabwe
This is a review paper that looks at the current status and prospects of conservation of indigenous livestock genetic resources in Zimbabwe. Indigenous livestock genetic resource conservation and sustainable use can contribute to reduced vulnerability, increased food security and accelerated economic growth in rural areas of Zimbabwe. There is a consensus that global animal genetic resources diversity is under pressure. The existence of threat to animal genetic resources is accepted, even though debate remains about the severity of genetic erosion. Local effort on improvement and conservation of indigenous cattle are described and challenges highlighted. The need to invest in indigenous livestock research and human resource development to support livestock conservation to accrue maximum benefit is acknowledged. Strategy on livestock conservation should be instrumental in ensuring the survival of indigenous livestock genetic resources, while making superior animals available to smallholder farming sector. Unknowingly some of our indigenous livestock genetic resources may be classified as insecure or vulnerable but not however endangered as such. Natural disasters have resulted in loss of valuable indigenous genetic resources, breeding tracts and mixing of genetic characteristics of various genetic grouping. Indigenous livestock genetic conservation should encompass changes in value and attitude of smallholder livestock producers from the present consideration for number of stock as status symbol to more important objectives of higher productivity and socioeconomic benefits that are business oriented. The review paper therefore, concludes that in the planning and implementation of indigenous livestock conservation interventions to increase livestock production, smallholder livestock farming sector approach is proposed, placing the household as focal point of livestock conservation. Small scale farmers approach should become increasingly important and can have a tremendous influence on achieving the primary objective which should be the conservation of indigenous livestock genetic resources one of the most vital resources in rural economy.
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