THE Zambian Government in partnership with the Czech Republic has officially launched the first ever Artificial National Insemination Centre (AIC) in Mazubuka in Southern Province with the main objective of increasing productivity and production in the livestock sub-sector in Zambia.
Government invested K4 million, while the Czech government put in US$650,000 in the first phase and $350,000 in the second phase, respectively.
Officially opening the centre, Agriculture and Livestock Deputy Minister Luxon Kazabu said having an AIC in Zambia would increase livestock productivity through improved reproductive technology such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer.
The AIC would address a number of notable challenges in the livestock sub-sector among them low conception rates, long calving intervals and high calf and adult mortality due to high prevalence of diseases.
Mr Kazabu said to address the constraints, one of Government's interventions was the strengthening of artificial insemination.
To this effect Government in the 2013 national Budget allocated K3 million towards the establishment of satellite artificial insemination centres across the country.
"We are here today to launch the first ever national insemination centre. This will help our livestock farmers in having improved breeds which in turn will boost the sub-sector. The centre also has a gene bank and a semen processing laboratory," Mr Kazabu said.
He disclosed that the two governments had also started implementing another project called, introduction of the controlled system of artificial insemination of cattle for small scale farmers in Zambia.
He also said a team of experts from the Czech Republic was in the country to explore investment opportunities in the agriculture sector.
Czech Republic Ambassador to Zambia Petr Stary said his country would continue investing in Zambia's agriculture sector.
He said his country attached importance to the growing of the sector hence the continued support.
"My country will always support your country's efforts in developing the agriculture sector. We will also improve our support to other sectors namely health and education," he said.