The Jersey is a British breed of small dairy cattle from the island of Jersey in the British channel. Overall, they are the second largest breed of dairy cattle in the world and they seem to love Africa because they do very well there. They appear to be bringing health and prosperity to the continent.
Jersey cattle is famed for its nutritious milk. In Africa they do better than Holstein Friesians and the local Angoni cattle according to Dr. Johns Nyirongo, a veterinarian and farmer in northern Zambia. Because they are smaller than the other breeds farmers can have more of them on a smaller piece of land. And Nyirongo said that they perform evenly across the seasons including throughout the dry season.
The Jersey breed has become sought after in Africa because of these benefits and because it’s milk is rich. They also calve more easily and are adaptable to extreme climates.
On the African continent, Zambia will be the fourth African nation to benefit from Jersey’s overseas aid program. This project has introduced the breed to herds in Rwanda, Ethiopia and Malawi.
Nyirongo has invested in a herd of 15 Jerseys and he is envied by neighbouring farmers. He knows this because his neighbours are constantly asking him to sell them but they are not for sale, he said. When he’s not at the farm they ask his wife whether she would sell them.
These farmers won’t be disappointed for much longer. Carolyn Labey, Jersey’s Minister for International Development and Zambia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock have come to an agreement which allows an artificial insemination program to be set up later in 2022.
The Jersey Overseas Aid Agency told The Times that a similar program in Rwanda had helped 24,000 farmers. Also, a similar program in Zambia was expected to assist 10,000 families.
Simon Boas of the Jersey Overseas Aid agency said that the Jersey cow was hardy and that they were ships’ cows because Jersey was a little seafaring country.
He said that this cow was bred to be able to be shipped off overseas with less difficulty. In Africa, they want the cattle to be crossbred with local breeds to create a hybrid which is resistant to tickborne diseases. The first hybrid calves should arrive next spring.
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