A couple thrives on raising Boer goats
Leonard Ncube at Victoria Falls
Mr Phanuel Mugomba and his wife Tecla may be the only Boer goat herders in the Woodlands agricultural area of Hwange district.
The couple pioneered commercial goat farming in 2018 and are among the few breeders of Boer goats in the province of Matabeleland North.
A Boer goat is a breed that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s and is a popular breed for meat production.
They are also used for milk production.
Their name is derived from the Afrikaans word boer, which means farmer.
In many cases a Boer goat has a white beard and a brown head and some males can reach 160 kg and females can reach 110 kg.
In Zimbabwe, Boer goats are popular in Matabeleland South, especially in Gwanda and Beitbridge.
The Mugomba started with 20 goats in 2018 and the herd grew to 60 after selling some to herders.
Theirs is a purebred and kept separately from regular goats for breeding.
Mr. Mugomba and his wife are based in the Sikabelo resettlement area in the woods outside Victoria Falls and herd the goats on land that Mr. Mugomba inherited from his grandfather in 2018.
“I do animal husbandry, agriculture and horticulture. My herd continues to grow and I have 25 head of cattle, 40 sheep and 60 Boer goats. I started with regular goats and in 2018 got 20 Boer goats from Bulawayo. There could be more of them if I hadn’t sold some to other breeders,” Mr. Mugomba said.
He said he kept his Boer goats separate from regular goats.
“I keep them separate from everyone else and they are guarded at all times because I don’t want them to mix or the breed will be compromised,” he said.
Boer goats are free grazers like all other goats, but because they are large, they need extra feed, especially in winter.
An adult Boer goat can weigh up to 160 kg.
Mr Mugomba said he has sold young males for up to $150 each and females for $90, but an adult Boer goat can fetch up to $500.
He said the goats needed special care.
“We are the only ones with Boer goats here and we work closely with the Veterinary Services Department here in Victoria Falls and make sure they have enough water and pasture, but generally they are not prone. disease,” Mugomba said.
The Mugomba also keep Afrikander cattle and farm on their land.
They have benefited from the presidential input program over the years and this year they planted maize, sugar beans, groundnuts and sunflower under the Intwasa program.
Mr. Mugomba said that despite poor rains this year, he expects to harvest 30 tonnes of maize.
“This year has not been good due to less rains, but we are expecting a good harvest of between 25 and 30 tonnes of maize because we planted early and we have started harvesting,” he said.
They also do market gardening and grow various kinds of vegetables which they sell to the surrounding community and the hospitality industry.
They dug a borehole for a reliable supply of water for domestic use; irrigation and watering their livestock.
Woodlands is in a wildlife area and farmers in the community take turns guarding the fields and livestock.
Mugomba said agriculture is a cornerstone of the country’s aspirations to upper-middle-income status by 2030.
“Agriculture is the way to go if we want to achieve our goals. If we get enough help from the government for those who farm on reserves like Woodlands, we will be sure to realize our vision of an upper middle income society. For the moment we are working to diversify our agriculture.
“Covid-19 has taught us that we need more than one source of income to survive and as for us whilst we are also in tourism we have not been seriously affected as we have quickly transitioned to agriculture and started supplying vegetables when the pandemic hit the industry,” he said. — @ncubeleon