LIPS-Zim is a European Union funded project that aims to increase agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe’s semi-arid agro-ecological regions IV and V. It promotes increased adoption of climate relevant innovations in livestock-based production systems and improved surveillance and control of livestock diseases.
Livestock provides income and employment to farmers, agricultural service providers and others involved in the value chain. Zimbabwe’s livestock production system is characterized by small-scale subsistence farming. Despite the importance of livestock to rural livelihoods, productivity remains low. This is linked to farmer behaviour, feed unavailability and cost, poor quality of animals, diseases, and frequent droughts.
Climate relevant livestock production practices such as fodder management and conservation, water harvesting, and manure management have been identified as solutions to increasing productivity. However, the adoption rate is low due to lack of understanding of problems faced by farmers, inadequate services for farmers and poor enabling environment.
Animal health management, improved breeds and improved feed are key to enhance resilience. Tick-borne diseases are causing high cattle mortalities owing to lack of repairs to communally owned dip tanks and lack of regular supply of acaricide. Other vector diseases are affecting livestock. There is a lack of efficient control and monitoring of animal diseases. Moreover, there is lack of adequate veterinary service delivery (disease surveillance and vaccination coverage).
LIPS-Zim will conduct research on the technologies and models that can help to increase the adoption of business and climate smart feeding practices, adaptive breeds and animal management practices (stocking rates) that impact on livestock production while taking into account indigenous knowledge. It will combine this with research on the epidemiology of diseases and the most efficient ways of controlling them.
The project specifically works in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland South (Beitbridge and Gwanda districts), Matabeleland North (Binga, Hwange and Nkayi districts), Midlands (Gokwe North district), Masvingo (Chiredzi and Zaka districts), Manicaland (Buhera district) and Mashonaland East (Mutoko district) areas.
- Increase the adoption of climate relevant innovations (e.g. feeding) in livestock-based production systems.
- Improve the surveillance and control of livestock diseases.
- Strengthen policy support for feed and forage value-chains and sustainable active participation of local communities in disease surveillance and early response.