Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Transformation Strategy

Since the advent of the Second Republic, President Mnangagwa’s Government has implemented a number of interventions to transform the country’s agriculture sector.

 The Herald has been serialising the Agriculture, Food Systems and Rural Transformation Strategy -2023-2025 every Thursday for the benefit of our readers.

Continued from last week

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Small stock

Sheep production (2011-22)

The sheep national population was 523 000 in 2020 and 728 000 in 2023, a 39 percent increase.

The major challenges is diseases, which accounted for 61 percent of total mortality and low lamping rate of 47 percent. The number of sheep slaughtered at abattoirs increased by 31 percent from 2 960 in 2021 to 3 906 in 2022.

The average carcass weight for sheep in 2022 was 16kg, against a national target of 17kg.

The national pig population increased from 228 000 in 2020 to 339 000 in 2023 (48.7 percent growth). Commercial pig slaughters at abattoirs increased by 11,8 percent in 2022 from 19 652 pigs in 2021 to 21 307.

The major challenges in pig production are the high cost of feed, poor genetics, poorly developed markets and weak extension and advisory services.

More investment in livestock growth can be enhanced, by making livestock production a viable commercial business, especially in communal areas. This includes using livestock as acceptable collateral, with attended insurance to unlock value.

Overall, the growth in beef, goat, sheep and pig production was underpinned by attention to better animal health, better nutrition, more accessible finance, better genetics and improved management.

This growth was, however, not matched by market and trade developments as the Cold Storage Company (CSC) was not resuscitated as per plan. Private abattoirs dominated cattle marketing with over 90 percent commercial offtake. With a vibrant CSC, farmers could get better returns for their cattle, especially communal farmers who have over 90 percent of the national cattle herd, making livestock a business.

Vaccine production for various cattle diseases, principally January disease, is now being accelerated to ensure self-sufficiency.

Better organisation and coordination among sectors in prioritisation of diseases for vaccine development and deployment are required. The role of artificial insemination, remains unsatisfactorily low. Enhanced coordination of actors in the livestock value chain will unlock the sector’s potential to accelerate growth, in both numbers and quality, while ensuring better returns for farmers.

Poultry production

Broiler production

Poultry remains the major protein source for Zimbabweans, constituting 60 percent of overall protein consumption. Overall day-old chick production increased by 24 percent from 91.6 million in 2021 to 113.9 million in 2022.

Broiler meat production increased by 34 percent from 143 500 tonnes in 2021 to 191 813 tonnes in 2022. Small-scale producers continue to dominate production, accounting for 79 percent of total production by 2022, a 3 percent increase from 2021.

Zimbabwe’s per capita broiler chick production increased by 22 percent in 2022 to 13kg per person per year, up from 10.36 kg in 2021.

Regarding indigenous chickens, estimated to be 45 million, the Presidential Poultry Scheme, which aims to distribute 30 million chickens by 2027, commenced with the distribution of 600 000 chicks in 2022.

Cumulatively, 1.1 million chicks had been distributed by June 2023.

Egg production recorded a 22 percent increase from 71.48 million dozen in 2020 to 87.4 million dozens in 2022. For all classes of chicken, feed costs remain the biggest cost, contributing on average 60-70 percent of total costs of production.

The threats of Newcastle disease and Avian flu remain, but vigilance, including heightened surveillance at boarders, prevented the recurrence of any major outbreaks since 2017. . . . to be continued next week

 

 

 

 

 

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