Head of Client Services at the National Development Bank (NDB), Sethunya Gaolebogwe has hailed Impact Genetics as a progressive research and development company that will revolutionise farming in Botswana.
Speaking during a media tour of NDB projects in and around Gaborone last week, Gaolebogwe said Impact Genetics’ embryo transfer and cattle breeding technology will change farming for the better as it will result in production of high quality animals that are resistant to drought and diseases. “Projects such as this one are very welcome because they bring solutions to drought and animal diseases, which have always troubled agriculture and driven many farmers to bankruptcy,” she said.
Gaolebogwe added that NDB has always been regarded as an agriculture bank as it was founded at a time when the sector was the mainstay of the national economy.
“We are proud to be associated with Impact Genetics because their technology will continue the legacy of NDB and restore agriculture to its former glory,” Gaolebogwe said. Located at Desert Ranch on the outskirts of Gaborone, Impact Genetics is a research and development company that is in the business of embryo transfer and cattle breeding.
Its embryo transfer technology involves inducing ovulation in selected breeds of females and fertilising the eggs with sperm from selected prize bulls.
The eggs are then recovered from the cow, matured and implanted into a surrogate until a calf is bred.
Monty Chiepe, founder of Impact Genetics, explained that the whole objective is to use genetic technology to breed the best animals that can withstand Africa’s harsh climate while also producing the best beef. “Botswana’s beef industry
“This technology will enable us to produce high quality animals that can withstand harsh weather conditions while giving us top grade beef to sell to the world.”
He added that embryo transfer will also enable cows to produce calves at a much faster rate, thereby increasing breeding efficiency and hiking profits.
“A cow generally produces one calf per year. With our technology we can produce more calves per cow in one year. This will reduce costs and hike profits as we will be able to satisfy increasing global demand for high quality beef,” he said.
He further said embryo transfer technology will solve the problem of high mortality rates and low productivity levels in Africa as the animals’ genes can be modified to improve their characteristics.
Asked what his plans for the future are, Chiepe said he has sought international funding to build more labs at Desert Ranch, where he will be able to produce high quality embryos and semen on a large scale for supply to African farmers.
“We are development entrepreneurs and our intention is to help African farmers to improve their production and compete with the best in the world. We also intend to export semen and embryos,” Chiepe said.
NDB financed Chiepe to purchase Desert Ranch in 2000. The bank assisted him once again in 2010 when he ventured into embryo transfer.