Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
THE African Development Bank has approved $1,5 million support for Zimbabwe’s beef and leather industries. The objective of the project, which will start in June this year is aimed at catalysing Zimbabwe’s economic growth through reviving beef and leather industries, AfDB said.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, which is the implementing agency of the project, the specific objective of the project is to increase overall competitiveness of the beef and leather value chain primarily through building stakeholder’s production capacities and enabling them to access local and export markets.
“The funding will look at building the country’s resilience through supporting growth of the beef and leather sub-sector value chain, with emphasis on value addition, resulting in the creation of employment, income growth, poverty reduction and achieving inclusive growth,” said the ministry.
The project will include a stakeholder platform aimed at enhancing dialogue at national level, among stakeholders (public and private) along the beef and leather value chain, for coordinated action.
Another component of the project is the business environment streamlining and reform aimed at facilitating support for the Government in its initiative to review and streamline reforms to the existing beef and leather sub-sector policies and regulations fully taking into account the concerns of stakeholders in the value chain.
Under the project, technical support will be provided for the design of a livestock information and traceability system and also preparation of a proposal for dip tanks construction and rehabilitation and supervision/provision of technical oversight will be executed.
Procurement will include services of a consulting firm to support the project implementation, audit services to be provided by an audit firm, monitoring and evaluation services to be provided by an individual consultant.
Zimbabwe’s leather industry is operating at a subdued capacity despite market opportunities in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and abroad. Beef exports have also remained subdued.
However, the Government said it will step up efforts to contain the spread of foot-and-mouth disease in the country’s six provinces amid fears that the disease is threatening efforts to resume beef exports to the lucrative European Union.
During the last season, the cattle herd was under pressure caused by the epidemic, which continued to spread as a result of increased mixing of cattle and wildlife. The cattle also moved wider in search of water due to the dry spells experienced in the season.
As a result, six out of the 10 provinces were affected by the disease, leading to disruption of commercial activities involving cattle and other livestock products.
Zimbabwe, which had an annual export quota of 9 100 tonnes of beef to the EU, lost the market following an outbreak of the foot-and-mouth disease about 15 years ago.
Since then, Zimbabwe is yet to be approved as being free from the disease.