SMALLHOLDER farmers will benefit from a piggery scheme under the Presidential Livestock Inputs Support Programme, launched by President Mnangagwa in Harare yesterday.
The programme will see an initial 10 000 weaners, donated by the largest private pig producer, being distributed to beneficiaries, and will also benefit agricultural colleges, research institutions, security services farms, women and youths among others.
The launch was witnessed by Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, Cabinet Ministers Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Monica Mutsvangwa, Perrance Shiri and Kirsty Coventry, and Minister of State for Harare Oliver Chidawu, among other Government officials.
The programme is aimed at boosting food and nutrition security and contributes to the growth of the economy. The scheme will also position Zimbabwe as one of the leading pig producers in the region.
Under the scheme, an individual gets two sows and a boar on a free loan. The pigs will be passed on after the first litter to the next approved farmers.
Launching the programme, President Mnangagwa said the scheme would complement the ongoing livestock programme covering cattle, goats, sheep, poultry and fisheries.
He said the scheme, which offered a quick sustainable pathway to better livelihoods for the communities, recognised that small livestock such as pigs were potentially important sources of livelihoods given that one sow could have two farrowings and produce more than 20 piglets every year.
“The launch marks the start of my tour of duty across the country to mobilise farmers under various Government-initiated programmes and to promote food production, self-sufficiency and surplus in our country.
“Programmes of this kind resonate with our National Vision 2030 towards attainment of an upper middle income status society.
“This scheme therefore bears testimony that there is no backtracking on our commitment to resuscitate all sub-sectors of our agriculture and the economy as a whole,” he said.
The President said the piggery scheme was within the broader framework of a broader Presidential Livestock Inputs Support Programme, which includes a heifer pass-on scheme. “The timely launch of this piggery scheme serves as a testimony of our commitment to support small livestock and the pork value chain in particular.
The President commended Triple C Private Limited, a subsidiary of Innscor’s Colcolm pork subsidiary, for donating the piglets and called for more public private partnerships to accelerate the national development.
“Triple C Pvt Ltd’s progressive important involvement in the implementation of our policies is in line with my Government’s call for more public private partnerships to accelerate our national development.
“Success in agriculture is a result of concerted efforts among all critical players. We remain committed to a private sector-led and Government-enabled economic development trajectory as enunciated in the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
“Triple C has shown us that despite challenges imposed on us by Covid-19, united and working with unity of purpose as one nation, we can emerge stronger and more prosperous. Such public-private partnerships when replicated can transform the livelihoods of our people,” he said.
The President urged beneficiaries to employ good animal husbandry practices and warned Government officials against frustrating developmental programmes.
“My Government will not hesitate to weed out all civil servants who oppose progress and frustrate programmes meant to better the quality of life for our people.
He pledged to capacitate extension workers by ensuring they are mobile with 5 000 motorcycles to be distributed to the workers to improve mobility.
Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said 90 percent of livestock in Zimbabwe was owned by smallholder farmers in A1, small-scale commercial farms, old resettlement schemes and communal areas, hence the importance that Government attached towards supporting the smallholder sector for increased livestock production.
“The goal of the ministry is therefore to actively support and develop the livestock subsector in its entirety. To improve viability of livestock farming, my ministry encourages farmers to intensify production and exploit enterprises that generate high incomes from limited space.
“Piggery is thus, one such enterprise, which is highly amenable to intensification and therefore recommended for adoption,”he said.
Minister Shiri said the pig industry had experienced reasonable growth over the last decade with the commercial sow herd estimated at around 20 000, with a potential of producing approximately 17 000 tonnes of pork annually.
“The national target for commercial sow herd is 25 000, which therefore shows that there is still room for growth. This scheme has therefore come at the most opportune time as it will boost much needed production in the piggery sector,” he said.
Colcom group chief executive, Mr Dino Tumazos said the pigs’ genes were from Europe and developed in South Africa so the animals can adapt to regional conditions.
“Innscor Africa is willing to work with Government. We have donated 6 400 pigs to the ministry and we have also capacitated agricultural colleges and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service. Today we have brought 1 800 weaner pigs and we expect to deliver 12 000 weaner pigs for the programme,” he said.