Elita Chikwati – Senior Agricultural Journalist
The Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading and Empowerment (VALUE) project in partnership with the Zimbabwe Goat Breeders Association (GBAZ) has developed breeding standards for native Matabele and Mashona goats.
The VALUE project is part of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Program (ZAGP) funded by the European Union and funded to the tune of 7.3 million euros to implement activities in the goat and pork value chains in 20 districts.
Matabele and Mashona Livestock Development aims to promote conservation, use of the native types of goats in Zimbabwe and to provide a training guide for farmers who breed native goats to become pastoralists.
Project team leader Mr. Newton Chari said developing breeding standards was important as genetics were essential to achieve the desired production, productivity and competitiveness in the market in the supply chain. goat value.
“This initiative was therefore prudent to ensure that as far as the promotion of better supervised exotic breeds takes place, the breeding of Mashona and Matabele goats is not left out,” he said.
Renowned indigenous goat expert, Mr. Joe Sikosana, who was hired to develop the breeding standards, said the compilation would help farmers become native goat herders and help conserve local produce.
GBAZ was formed in 2018 to address the challenges of the goat industry, including the lack of formal structure, lack of economies of scale, training and value chain integration, poor marketing and a poor institutional framework.
GBAZ President Dr Divine Ndhlukula said;
“With over four million goats owned by smallholders, it was time for the goat industry to gain attention and support in ensuring that smallholders had access to technical training and expertise.
“This would ensure that farmers are working to improve their local breeds to transform breeds for better growth in order to achieve commercialization which in turn will give them good financial returns on the goats. “
ZAGP is providing EU financial support in the amount of € 40 million to address weaknesses and gaps in livestock value chains that have prevented the sector from increasing productivity, production and income to their potential.
The focus is on increasing profitability, building the capacity of farmers, service institutions and the private sector through increased investment, institutional reforms and policy alignment.
As part of the goat value chain, the project partners VALUE ActionAid, Mercy Corps, COSV, Michview Enterprises and Zvikomborero Farms work with associations of small producers in 12 districts namely Buhera, Chikomba, Chipinge, Mudzi, Mbire, Rushinga , Beitbridge, Binga, Gwanda, Matobo, Lupane and Nkayi.
The project is expected to have a positive impact on economic opportunities for 800,000 small goat herders.