Government has revealed that the locally tapped semen from the recently acquired breeding bulls from the State of Texas in the US will be accessible at affordable prices to all farmers, both commercial and smallholder farmers from all corners of the country.
Agriculture minister Fidelis Molao said during a recent media tour to the Ramatlabama National Artificial Insemination Laboratory and Training Centre where the 161 cattle are kept, that the unhindered access to the genetics will help government achieve its objective of increasing the national cattle herd and genetic merit.
Molao said the price of locally tapped semen from these genetics will be much affordable for the benefit of all farmers, especially the smallholder farmers.
“In short it is an equalizer for every farming family like free education has been to all Batswana, rich and poor,” he said.
Molao has further revealed that while the semen will be sold from the National AI laboratory in Ramatlabama, farmers from all corners of the country can buy, and the department of animal health will facilitate the transportation of the semen and facilitate the actual inseminations at their AI centres accross the country.
Government recently received a consignment of 161 breeding cattle from the US, among them 105 white Brahman bulls, 4 red Brahman bulls, 10 beefmaster bulls, 7 Santa Gertrudis, 5 charolais bulls 5 brangus bulls, 4 angus bulls and 21 white brahman heifers.
Molao said the procurement of the consigment was in line of revised artificial insemination programme aimed at addressing the challenge of the declining national herd as well as imporving the genetic merit
“The specific objectives of the revised programme are to promote adoption and use of modern technologies in livestock breeding, promote Investment in fodder production for improved livestock productivity and promote Private Sector participation in the livestock value chain. The objectives are also to upgrade the Ramatlabama National Artificial Insemination Laboratory (NAIL) into an export facility and centre of excellence, conserve and promote indigenous breeds such as Mosi, Tswana and Tuli, develop and implement the bush encroachment management strategy in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and build capacity of extension officers and farmers,” Molao revealed.
The minister further said they hope the animals will unlock business opportunities in the livestock sector and promote private sector participation in areas of stud breeding, commercial breeding, production germplasm, production & distribution of liquid nitrogen, Embryo transfer, and Artificial Insemination service providers and capacity building .
“It is anticipated that in future we will be able to produce semen and embryos will be produced for the export market and participate in the global space,” he said.