THE CHISHINGA State Ranch in Kawambwa's Pambashe Constituency is ready for cattle stocking following the sinking of two boreholes to solve the water problem which was holding back its implementation, says Luapula Province Livestock officer Stanley Chibwe.
In a statement released yesterday, Dr Chibwe stated that the Chishinga Cattle Ranch, which would now be called the Chishinga Breeding Centre, could previously not stock animals because of lack of water.
"Water at the breeding centre has been a hindering factor; but government has now sunk two boreholes, each fitted with 5,000 litres solar powered aerial pumps. The ranch is now ready for stocking animals," he stated.
Dr Chibwe stated that one of the four dip tanks had already been rehabilitated, making the centre more than ready to host the animals.
He also described the ranch as environmentally suitable and friendly because it had perennial streams with one canal earmarked for construction in order to improve water supply.
"The streams and canal will improve and reinforce the water supply in addition to the solar-powered aerial water pumps as the ranch is very big, sitting on 44,000 hectares of land," Dr Chibwe stated. He further explained that about KR1 million out of the total KR3 million budgeted for had been disbursed for various projects in the breeding centre.
"Part of the money will be used to purchase an initial 30 breeding cattle of the Boran breed. Once the remainder of the funds is released, we hope to have 120 breeding cattle by the end of this year. The Boran breed has been picked because it is hardy and will therefore not give much problems to the small-scale farmers who will be beneficiaries," Dr Chibwe stated.
He stated that plans to purchase a tractor and tractor-drawn implements such as ploughs, trailers and water buzzers were underway, adding that once fully operational, farmers would use the equipment at a cost to be determined.
"With increased funding, plans to put up improved pastures such as rhodes grass and lucerne in order to increase the carrying capacity of the ranch are being considered," Dr Chibwe stated.
He stated that it was hoped that the development of the Chishinga Breeding Centre would ease pressure on fishing bodies which were currently depleted as fishing was the major economic activity in the area.
Dr Chibwe has since commended the Department of Livestock Development and its directorate for the timely disbursement of funds.