Livestock Node

Livestock Node


Livestock node application was a joint bid by the University of Zambia (UNZA) and National Institute of Science and Technology (NISIR). It was submitted to the NEPAP/SANBio Secretariat in November, 2008 which was followed by official launch of the Node on 23rd t0 24th March, 2009 at Cresta Golf View Hotel in Lusaka Zambia. It was officiated by the Hon Peter Daka the then Minister of Science and Technology of the government of the Republic of Zambia. A technical team of Scientist from the University of Zimbabwe, University of Namibia, Bunda College of Agriculture of Malawi, North West University of South Africa, NISIR, UNZA and SANBio Secretariat representation by Prof Luke Mumba.

After extensive deliberations, a final livestock node work plan was formulated. Tephrosia vogelii, a small African leguminous botanical herb was identified for use as an alternative bio-acaricide for introduction in ticks and tick borne diseases control strategy among the poor small scale livestock farmers. Implementation Plan for the Period September 2009 - August 2012 was formally submitted and approved in August, 2009 and preliminary funding and field work commenced in 2010.



Reducing the negative impact of Tick Borne Diseases, Trypanosomoses and their Vectors on Livestock Production in Southern African Region using indigenous herb T vogelli extracts.



To effectively apply alternative tick control strategies to the existing conventional disease control methods in order to 'Minimize the negative impact of TBDs, Trypanosomoses and their vectors on animal productivity which will result in improved food security and alleviate poverty among small scale farmers.



  • To strengthen institutional systems and infrastructure.  
  • To train and educate young scientists in biosciences.  
  • To strengthen linkages with global and continental scientific communities and private sector.  
  • To boost inter-network collaboration.  
  • To support policy efforts in biosciences.  
  • To encourage gender mainstreaming.


Past and on-going projects

Livestock node is a field oriented project which is aimed at improving community livelihoods through research development & innovations in controlling vector - borne livestock diseases using bio-acaricide produced from a leguminous herbal (T vogelii) plant which also has additional properties useful to the farmer. The project was mainly in Monze, Pemba and Choma in southern province of Zambia. Initial work on T vogelii was done by researchers at NISIR and the UNZA.The project has established linkages with other institutions within and outside Zambia. In capacity building, the project has trained MSc students, government extension workers and small scale livestock farmers, especially women.

Traditional livestock owners are a rich source of indigenous livestock husbandry and animal health information, which can be harnessed and integrated in the design of livestock health programmes.  Most current tick control strategies are imposed on farmers and are often viewed as foreign which creates a number of challenges. Conventional tick control strategies tend to be very unsustainable and costly for many small scale farmers. To help address these persistent challenges among small scale farmers in mitigating their devastating tick borne diseases out breaks, based on data from previous work done at NISIR and UNZA, we identified a simple but feasible alternative use T vogelli extracts in the treatment of parasitic ailments.

Further assessment on T vogelii extract indicated high efficacy, low toxicity and improved processing method. It was actually proven that T vogelii extract was an effective bio-acaricide which lasted in excess of six days which applied on animals. We planted nurseries and procured seeds which was distributed to farmers at each training session.

The seeds of Tephrosia are small and brown in colour. The seeds should be soaked in cold or warm water for 24 hours before sowing to enhance germination, seeds which float are discarded because they are not viable. To achieve maximum leaf yield (biomass) sowing should done at the rate of 35,000 seeds per hectare. The seedlings survival rate is about 60 percent. The plant grows slowly and requires weeding and care during its early growing stage. It is tolerant to pruning, drought, strong winds, and grazing and takes at least three months to reach maturity. Once established T vogelii plant always maintains green leaves on its upper two thirds level with yellow leaves at the older base leaves. The T vogelii plants are perennial and can persist for more than three (3) years in the same field.

One (1) kg fresh leaves are harvested (using pre-calibrated container), pounded into a paste in a mortar and soaked in five (5) litres of water for overnight. The pounded leaves are then filtered using a cloth to produce a concentrated green liquid extract. To this concentrated extract water is added at a 1:10 ratio to dilute the contents which is mixed then properly stirred.  A little soap and 40 ml (four table spoons) soda ash solution (1:1 w/v) can to stabilise the mixture before applying on the animals using hand wash, broom spraying or knapsack. Farmers are advised to spray their animals once a week during high tick challenge.

Crude extract of T vogelii is also potentially useful against internal worm infestation in animals as well as for the control of spider mites, lice, fungal infections and for control of larval stages of mosquitoes. T vogelii is a legume therefore it also has properties of nitrogen fixing in the soil where it is planted. T vogelii extract is also effective in garden pest management especially aphids. Dried T vogelii leaves have the potential to post harvest protection of seeds against pests.

The livestock node through NISIR has received a Strategic Research Fund (SRF) grant from the Zambia National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) to carry out 'Assesment of the impact of multiple mycotoxin exposure on poultry productivity in Zambia' a colaborative research between NISIR, UNZA, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI), Zambia Institute of Animal Health (ZIA).



With the help of chiefs, head men and six provincial veterinary and tsetse control extension officers we mobilized and trained, the project recruited more than 500 small scale livestock farmers who were trained on how to plant, process and use Tephrosia bio-acaricide. We used extension leaflets, community theatre group drama, discussions, field days, videos and by participating at national agricultural shows.  

Extension workers were trained using formal workshops and field days. All the five (5) veterinary assistants and livestock assistants were employees of the ministry of livestock and fisheries of the government of the Republic of Zambia. They played a very important role in identifying vulnerable farmers and assisted them on a day to day activities. All the trained received some initial T vogelii seeds or seedlings to plant and thereafter, farmers harvested their own seeds.  Out of the 500 farmers we trained we had a 60 percent adherence. Field days were conducted on the most successful farmers' farms and animals. Knapsack and a bicycle were presented to such farmers who were promoted to become our lead farmers to help encourage their peers and to help disseminate the new tick control strategy. Extension materials were prepared and distributed to farmers during field days and at the national agricultural shows. A video was produced in local language and English for distribution. There has been no TBD out breaks reported in herds of cattle under the project. These farmers are in TBD endemic areas where some of them have previously suffered serious losses in the past.

Farmers who have adopted the use of T vogelii bio-acaricide have indicated that they now enjoy improved and sustainable TBD control and fertilizer free soil management. Veterinary and livestock extension officers support has enhanced overall livestock extension, animal productivity, marketing opportunities, food security and better human welfare among small scale farmers in the project.

The project enrolled four MSc students; two at the University of Zambia and two at the University of Zimbabwe in the field of biosciences. One of the students in Zambia looked at evaluation of T vogelii efficacies at different concentrations and the toxicity. It was observed that the required biomass of T vogelii can be significantly reduced while achieving the same efficacy. The T vogelii extract are none toxic and are easily degradable, making the product environmentally friendly.

Two students at the University of Zimbabwe graduated, one student at UNZA is graduating in 2016 while the fourth students is still working on his project "Assessment of T vogelii in tsetse fly control strategy."


Collaborating Partners

The University of Zambia, School of Veterinary Medicine.

National Institute of Science and Technology Animal Science Research Center, Zambia.

The University of Zimbabwe - was to conduct audit, validation of T vogelii, training & awareness campaign.

The University of Malawi - was to conduct audit, validation of T vogelii, training & awareness campaign.

The University of Namibia - was to conduct audit, & awareness campaign.

North West University in SA - was conduct audit, & awareness campaign.  


List of publications by the Node

C.P.Siamea, H .Chitambob   and K. Choongoc (2015). Assessment of the efficacy of Tephrosia vogelii plant leaf extracts to control ticks on cattle in the field (In Preparation).

Alikhadio Maseko; Harrison Chitambo & Enala Tembo Mwase Nguluwe (2015). Aspects of behavior, ecology and vectorial capacity of tsetse flies: Ecological and behavioral studies on Glossina brevipalpis (Newstead). Lambert Academic Publishing. ISNB 978-8-659-62949-5.

Moonga, E. (2011). Climate Change Adaptive Capacities in the Traditional Livestock System of Southern Africa based on Indigenous Knowledge. SANBio Newsletter, Volume 3,

Moonga, E. and H. Chitambo (2010). The role of Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity in Livestock Disease Management under Climate Change, paper presented at the 2nd International Conference: Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions August 16 - 20, 2010, Fortaleza - Ceara, Brazil


Contact information

Dr Harrison Chitambo The University of Zambia School of Veterinary Medicine PO Box 32397 Lusaka, Zambia

Tel:  +260 211 293 727

Cell: +260 978 122 233



Dr Henry Njapau International Airport Road, P.O.Box 310158, Lusaka, Zambia

Telephone: +260976872580