Blessing Rwizi Mutare Bureau
Farmers in Ward 20, Chimanimani, have embraced free-range poultry production, with hundreds of road-runners, turkeys, geese, ducks and guinea-fowls having been produced over the past six months.
This follows the Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Producers Association (ZFPPA)’s call for smallholder farmers to commercialise indigenous poultry birds for the betterment of their lives.
ZFPPA opened its first branch in Mutare in July 2016, with the aim of improving farmers’ livelihoods through promotion of sustainable free-range poultry breeds like indigenous chickens, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, geese and quails.
Farmers around Manicaland Province have since responded positively to the project, which is giving them good returns. Mr Kudakwashe Chitambo of Gudyanga Business Centre said the birds were cheap to rear as they also relied on food that they could pick up from the ground around the yard.
“I started the commercialisation of ducks, road runners, turkeys, quails, geese and guinea fowls in July 2016. They are cheap to keep, as they can rely on different kinds of food that they pick from the ground at an early age. I have made good money over the past few months and I have secured markets locally in supermarkets around the province. I am urging people to try this project, as it is very profitable,” he said.
Mr Chitambo now has 250 road-runners, 36 guinea fowls, 29 turkeys and 22 ducks.
“I lost 122 road runners last year and I suspect that they were poisoned,” he said. “If it was not for that, they would have been more than 500 now. I am also doing well with my guinea fowls, turkeys and ducks and I encourage farmers not only to rely on crop farming, but diversify into poultry production.” Besides poultry production and crop farming, most farmers in the area have also taken up goat and sheep farming.