Proceedings of a joint ZSAP/FAO Workshop held in Harare, Zimbabwe

25th – 27th October 1999.

Edited by: -

D. H. Holness

Organizing committee:-

J. de Castro, D. Holness
J. Sikosana, G. Smith

Zimbabwe Society for Animal Production, P O Box
BW943, Borrowdale, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Sub-Regional office for Southern and Eastern Africa,
P O Box 3730, Harare, Zimbabwe

Hyperlinks to non-FAO Internet sites do not imply any official endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, data or products presented at these locations, or guarantee the validity of the information provided. The sole purpose of links to non-FAO sites is to indicate further information available on related topics.


Opening address

Welcoming address

Aims of the workshop

Session 1

J. G. Raats
Strategies for feeding animals during the dry period

Session 2

G. K. Maphane and P Mutshewa
Strategies for dry season feeding animals in Botswana

G. B. Matita
The livestock sector - a country situation report for Malawi

R. D. Uaila
An outlook for animal production in Mozambique with brief emphasis on dry season feeding strategies for cattle

J. F. Els and H. Von Seydlitz
Strategies for dry season feeding of animals in Namibia

J. H. Hoon
Vegetation and animal production in South Africa

W. M. Mukumbuta and Christine C. Yamba Yamba
Strategies for dry season feeding of animals in Zambia

C Chakoma, L. Hove and P. Nyathi
Strategies for dry season feeding of animals : current status in Zimbabwe

Session Discussion

Session 3 (a)

H. O. De Waal, W. J. Combrinck, M. D. Howard and H. J. Fouché
The impact of climate on veld (natural pasture or rangeland) and animal production.

I. M Duncan
Anti-nutrient factors in naturally occurring vegetation

B. Manyuchi, C. Chakoma and A. Tigere
Crop residues as feed for ruminant livestock during the dry season.

J. Dube
The use of Acacia karoo and Acacia nilotica leaves as dry season supplementary feeds for livestock

Marion Titterton, O. Mhere, Barbara Maasdorp, T. Kipnis, G. Ashbell and Z. Weinberg
Conservation of forages for dry season feeding of livestock in the semi arid areas of the tropics

L. Hove, C. Chakoma and P. Nyathi
The potential of tree legume leaves as supplements in diets for ruminants in Zimbabwe

G. W. Smith
The role of commercial stockfeeds

A. Speedy
FAO information resources in dry season feeding of animals

M H Neitz
Intensive production systems - feeding and managing the high producing dairy cow

Session Discussion

Session 3 (b)

Siboniso Moyo and Ntombizakhe Mpofu
Breed utilisation strategies for sustainable cattle production in dry areas

J L N Sikosana
Small ruminants in Zimbabwe with reference to feeding strategies

P T Jessen
Wildlife as an animal resource in Namibia

Session Discussion

Session 4

F. M Chinembiri
Communal area livestock management systems in Zimbabwe

J. Zeitsman
Man, cattle and veld

S. Ncube and Z. Magadzire
Optimising utilisation of leguminious fruits (pods) and sorghum grain in the semi-arid areas of Zimbabwe.

J. H. Hoon
Feeding management in drought areas

F Johnson
Feeding strategies during drought

Session Discussion

Session 5

J. J. Jackson
Conservation of the natural resource

R Taylor
Land use in South-east Zimbabwe : towards understanding resilience in rangelands

D. M. Gammon
Optimising the utilisation of dry season veld for commercial beef production through supplementation



Editorial Note:

This workshop was held under the joint aegis of the Zimbabwe Society for Animal Production (ZSAP) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

In the time elapsing between the workshop and publication of the Proceedings, ZSAP has merged with the Grassland Society of Zimbabwe to form the Zimbabwe Animal and Grassland Society (ZAGS).

Thus, although ZSAP is mentioned throughout the text, the publication has been carried out under the auspices of ZAGS.


The Chairman of the Zimbabwe Society for Animal Production, Dr. D. H. Holness;
The FAO Sub-Regional Representative, Ms V. Sekitoleko;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

I feel greatly honoured to address you today at this joint Zimbabwe Society for Animal Production (ZSAP) and Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) workshop on “Strategies for Dry Season Feeding of Animals”. I wish to welcome all the participants visiting our country. I hope you will enjoy your stay in our pleasant country.

Animal production plays an important role in the economic development of all countries in the Southern African region. Among their numerous roles, they provide us with food that is high in nutritive value, income, draught power, manure and cultural activities. In addition, as respective countries we earn foreign currency by exporting chilled or frozen meat and live animals. However, animal production in this region is mainly affected by climatic conditions. Generally, during the wet season, the animals are healthy and fat as opposed to the dry season when they look thin and sick because of the scarcity of grazing. This implies that when a farmer sells his/her animals during the dry season, they fetch very low prices. In addition, a thin animal is susceptible to diseases and it can die easily. Therefore there is need to ensure that our animals are always healthy and in good condition during both the rainy season and dry season. The solution lies in good animal husbandry.

Mr Chairman, I am happy to note that as outlined in the workshop objectives, you are going to discuss the situation of dry season feeding in the region and analyse the different management technologies available in terms of resources, both grazing and animals, and then develop possible strategies to improve the feeding of animals in the dry season. I have noticed that the workshop has brought together specialists from different countries in the Southern African region and FAO to discuss the common problem of the dry season and how to improve animal husbandry under these conditions.

I have taken notice in your programme that you have not restricted workshop discussions only to domestic animals but have included the integration of wildlife into total management systems. This is important because wildlife is now increasingly taking a significant role in contributing to economic growth of most countries in the Southern African region including Zimbabwe. It is also pleasing to note that the workshop will examine conservation of natural resources, feed management in drought years, and optimum utilization of locally available feed resources in dry areas among several other topics.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think you will agree with me that different technologies of animal feeding systems, despite being introduced to the smallholder farmers, have not been adopted because of their complexity and inappropriateness. I want to challenge you during this workshop to come up with appropriate and effective solutions to the feeding management systems for the smallholder farmers of the Southern African region. These systems should take into consideration all the major constraints that the smallholder farmers are facing.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to FAO for funding, organizing and providing resource people to this workshop. Let me also thank the Zimbabwe Society for Animal Production for closely liaising with FAO in defining the workshop theme. and identifying speakers and topics for this workshop. It is my hope that everyone here will find this workshop beneficial and relevant.

It now gives me pleasure to declare this workshop on “Strategies for Dry Season Feeding of Animals” officially open.

Thank you.


The Honorable Minister of Lands and Agriculture, Mr. Kangai
The Chairman of the ZSAP, Dr. D. Holness
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address you today on behalf of the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and welcome you to this workshop on “Strategies for dry season feeding of animals” organized by the Zimbabwe Society for Animal Production and FAO.

I do not want to take too much of your time that I believe will be better spent on presentations and discussions. Nevertheless, allow me a few remarks.

No one in this audience needs to be reminded of the importance of the animal sector for the Southern region. Apart from the traditional uses of animals in the production of meat milk, eggs and by-products, farmers use them for draught power and as a way of savings and transport. They also have an important value as a source of revenue from tourism.

Animal production, however, suffers from the effects of yearly dry seasons and, because of the gradually increasing severity of these, the situation remains one that creates losses for the sector. We can safely say that most of southern Africa's dry seasons exacerbate the prevailing agricultural drought on a regular basis.

Regions that experience drought conditions more frequently are known as ‘marginal’ areas characterized by low and erratic precipitation, which in turn is reflected in relatively low and notably unpredictable levels of crop and animal production. In these areas, extended periods of drought further reduce production below the already marginal levels so that subsistence farming itself is in jeopardy. In these areas, agriculture is a risk-prone enterprise and, with the exception of occasional irrigation schemes, most areas with comparable precipitation have remained open rangelands. In these areas of the Southern African region, animal production is a significant economic element. In these areas is where I believe long-term solutions are needed and this meeting can have an important impact.

Honorable Minister, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,

The issue of drought has received a lot of attention in recent years because of the well-known “El Nino” phenomenon. As a result, there has been increased interest and concern over its consequences for food security and agriculture by the governments in the region.

For example, in November 1997, the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Food Security Technical and Administrative Unit (FSTAU) organized a High-Level Drought Policy Seminar in Botswana.

This meeting recognized that drought in Southern Africa is a normal and recurring event, and called for long-term action in:

FAO has been and is still involved in several initiatives and programmes that aim at neutralizing the effects of drought on agriculture.

Specifically on livestock, an electronic conference entitled “Livestock - Coping with Drought” was organized last year by the Division of Animal Production and Health.

At the sub-regional level, FAO also has an on-going programme called FARMESA that among other activities covers: improved nutrition of indigenous livestock in Kenya; crop-livestock integration and the use of water melon as a source of water for livestock in Tanzania; feed management for small holder dairy farms and improvement of indigenous cattle and fodder in Zimbabwe.

Finally, the FAO sub-regional office has initiated the formulation of a farmer-centered, integrated drought management strategy, and a longer term programme of action that is expected to contribute to mitigating, and where possible, preventing the serious negative impact of future droughts on crop and livestock production in the sub-region. The present workshop's recommendations will be invaluable for this initiative.

I am pleased to note that the programme of the workshop addresses both the resource base and the strategies for animal feeding in the dry season. I trust that these are a large number of methods and procedures for the management of animals during the dry season in the region and, ion the process of discussing them, great benefit will be gained, particularly regarding its application in the small scale farming sector.

I believe that this workshop is very timely and I am pleased to note that it is well attended by representatives of several countries from the region as well as several experts in the field of animal production and management. This unique blend of expertise will no doubt help in enhancing the outcome of the workshop.

Honorable Minister, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, you are participating in a meeting dealing with a serious issue. Be aware that the results will, in one way or another, affect the farmers in the field. Give it your best. I wish you all success with the meeting. Thank you.


Dr. D Holness
Chairman - ZSAP

The idea of the workshop on dry season feeding of animals came originally from Dr Julio de Castro of FAO, who as a relative newcomer to Zimbabwe, has been struck by the apparent under utilisation of dry season food resources. When he approached ZSAP, it did indeed seem to be appropriate and timely that we held a moratorium on this very important topic, which is fundamental to all animal production systems in this part of the world.

Looking back in this country, the major breakthrough in terms of dry season feeding occurred over 60 years ago, when Murray and Romyn at Matopos Research Station produced trial results which demonstrated the benefits to cattle productivity which can accrue from inputs of relatively small levels of supplementary protein on dry season veld. Elliott and Topps at Henderson Research Station subsequently elucidated the mechanisms involved in this response, showing that, in addition to a direct effect of protein on animal performance, the protein also stimulated markedly increased intakes of fibre and thus improved the energy status of the animal. Innovative cattle producers such as Marcus Bauer have put these research results into commercial practice, and some form of protein or nitrogen supplementation now forms part of most ruminant production systems which rely on dry season grazing and browsing.

When we initially considered the scope of the workshop, the organising committee included as broad a range of topics as possible and incorporated, for example, sections on non-ruminants and water resources and management. However, after further thought, it was felt that to provide adequate time to come up with practical recommendations and suggestions for future direction, the workshop should restrict itself to ruminants only.

A large proportion of the natural grassland in the region represents a fragile environment which is very sensitive to misuse, and we hope that we have included a number of contributions which will stimulate full discussion of environmental issues.

We have structured the workshop to start off with country reports to familiarise the meeting with the current situation. Contributing countries were invited on the basis of all having somewhat similar dry season problems. Then there will be sessions covering resources, feeds and livestock. These are then brought together in sessions on management systems, and more broadly in terms of strategies. The final sessions involving discussions and summaries will be targeted to come up with concrete proposals and practical recommendations for future direction and development.