By Wallace Mawire
A European Union (EU) funded Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading and Empowerment (VALUE) project was on officially launched at Rushinga district on 10 November, 2021 by Vangelis Haritatos, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement.
The Rushinga Goat Improvement Centre (GIC) which was completed in December 2020, is a primary business hub for small and medium goat producers constructed to the tune of USD24 000 offering various services such as breed improvement, dipping, veterinary drug sales, sale of fodder seed, aggregation of bulk slaughter stock.
The project has constructed similar centres in eleven other districts namely Beitbridge, Binga, Buhera, Chikomba, Chipinge, Gwanda, Lupane, Matobo, Mbire, Mudzi, Nkayi.
The VALUE project is part of an EU funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP), a response to tackle challenges within the country’s livestock sector through financial support from the EU amounting to €40 million.
ZAGP seeks to contribute to the development of a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth.
Covering Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces, ZAGP is addressing the weaknesses and gaps in livestock value chains to contribute towards increasing productivity, production, and incomes.
Focus is on increasing profitability, building the capacity of farmers, service institutions, and private sector through increased investment, institutional reforms, and policy alignment.
“Our objective remains to increase production, productivity, market competitiveness and organisational efficiencies of small to medium producers. Thus far we have found the Goat Improvement Centres as hubs necessary to contribute to our objective which will ultimately lead to the commercialization agenda. Importantly these centres are providing platforms for engagements with key stakeholders for the creation of conducive business environments in the districts,” said Newton Chari, the VALUE Project Team Leader.
With financial assistance from the European Union, ActionAid Zimbabwe, together with its goat value chain implementing partners; COSV, Mercy Corps, Zvikomborero Farms and Michview Enterprises imported 312 goat breeding stock from Namibia to address production challenges caused by use of inferior breeds and inbreeding. The breeding stock was distributed among four institutions for multiplication namely Zvikomborero Farm, Michview Enterprises, Matopo and Grasslands Research Institutes.
Furthermore, two bucks were delivered to each goat improvement centre for mating services under the management of the Goat Producers Business Associations (GPBAs).
“Rushinga goat farmers have started to realise the utility of the goat improvement centre. They are dipping their goats, accessing mating services, drawing lessons on animal nutrition from the fodder plots, and above all, seeing the benefits of collective marketing of goats. The potential for further success is evident,” said COSV Country Director, Mr Tsuro Bore.
The Rushinga GPBA Business Development Officer, Mr Regis Kasako said, “we are grateful for the support rendered by the VALUE project and the EU in constructing this centre which has addressed various challenges we were facing in the district. We are now dipping our goats, accessing veterinary drugs, growing fodder crops, and selling our goats collectively and directly to consumers, this has increased our profit margins with at least USD3 per goat.”