Genetic improvement of cattle in Zimbabwe utilising advanced breeding technologies

Posted on: 15/06/2020

Dr David Black, Paragon Veterinary Group, presented his project on improving cattle genetics at the GCRF AgriFood Africa Event in December 2019.



The lab at Paragon Veterinary Group.


The project team Paragonvet Limited, University of Nottingham, Dendairy (Pvt) Ltd, Nurture BX Genetics (Pvt) Ltd set out to find a new market for UK genetics and in particular for this project, Zimbabwe, to boost efficiency and profitability for beef farmers where the conditions may not be otherwise adequate for healthy animals.  The beef industry in Zimbabwe has suffered in the past due to foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), and more recent, climate change as the grass and water available is diminishing following dryer weather. Beef farmers know all too well therefore, how crucial healthy animals are to productivity. Importing animals into Zimbabwe is problematic due to the stress and poor conditions as well as biosecurity issues. At the time of arrival, the cattle are exhausted, stressed and welfare is compromised therefore productivity is lower.


Paragon investigated three main objectives for the project:

  • how bovine embryos work using an OPU/IVP system
  • how the system can work in Zimbabwe
  • to develop a new veterinary-led health service resulting in a sustainable business

The Solution

The first part of the process is IVF which takes place in the UK and is shipped to indigenous cattle, such as the Nkone, Tuli and Mashona, in Zimbabwe. The team then amplified and selected genetics using a “Funnel and Cascade” innovation to improve productivity, health and welfare.

Future opportunities include rolling it out to other developing countries.


Agri-tech Catalyst round 7: agriculture and food systems innovation

Paragonvet Limited, University of Nottingham, Dendairy (Pvt) Ltd, and Nurture BX Genetics (Pvt) Ltd won funding from Round 7 of the Agri-Tech Catalyst competition for their project “Genetic improvement of cattle in Zimbabwe utilising advanced breeding technologies.” 

UK businesses and research organisations were invited to apply for a share of up to £3 million from DFID for projects with partners in eligible African countries.

For more information on Paragon Veterinary Group, click here.

Click here for video

GCRF AgriFood Africa Event Project Presentation: David Black, Paragon Veterinary Group. Video produced by:


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