Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
FARMERS should appreciate the value in goats and produce the livestock commercially to increase household income and boost the economy, Finance and Economic Development Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa said yesterday.
He said this at a field day held at the Boar Goat Association of Zimbabwe field day held at Kadram Boar Farm in Headlands.
Cde Chinamasa said it was disturbing that Zimbabwe’s 3,2 million goats were not benefiting the farmers or the country.
“Farmers should derive value from goats. They should be produced at a commercial basis. There are several markets such as the Middle East and the local Muslim community that can buy the goats.
“It is important that farmers are not only interested in keeping goats but that they get profits from the enterprise. You should sell the livestock to send children to school. Some farmers are not willing to sell their livestock but are prepared to sacrifice them for exorcising spirits,” he said.
Cde Chinamasa urged farmers into goat production to adhere to market requirements.
“It is not common to find goat meat in local butcheries or supermarkets. Farmers should establish markets and ensure they produce quality products to maintain the markets.
“Goat farmers should take advantage of the processing of hides locally and add value to the goat hides. We used to export unprocessed hides but now we are adding value and this boosts income,” he said.
He said Government had banned the importation of all meats and urged members of the public to report any supermarkets selling imported meat.
Cde Chinamasa is also spearheading programmes of improving livestock breeds in Makoni Central.
“Zimbabweans should take advantage of the inflation in South Africa and import breeding stock and improve the quality of livestock,” he said.
Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services principal director, Dr Unesu Ushewokunze Obatolu said goat meat was becoming popular because of its health benefits.
“Goat meat is nutritious and healthier than beef. In other countries, goat meat is popular and the milk is used to feed weaned babies while the hides are processed into different products that fetch meaningful prices on the market. In Zimbabwe the Moslem community requires goat meat,” she said.
The Zimbabwe Agricultural Society chief executive, Dr Anxious Masuka said climate change was threatening agriculture and farmers were supposed to look for adaptive measures so they continue benefiting from the agriculture sector.
“Farmers should now shift to moisture conversation techniques such as pot holing and move away from flood irrigation to more effective methods such as drip. We should not continue wasting water but make maximum use of the available resources.
“Boer goats are more appealing now because of climate change. We should promote inclusive development which considers all members of the community. Goat production complements the obejctives of the Food and Nutrition cluster of ZimAsset and also creates employment,” he said.
BGAZ chairman, Mr Crispen Kadiramwando said the association was promoting commercial production of goats and improvement of existing breeds.