Tanyaradzwa Mutizwa Herald Reporter
The Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) has launched a pig and goat production project aimed at boosting household food, nutrition and income of smallholder farmers.
The programme, which will be spearheaded by Action Aid under the ZAGP’s Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading and Empowerment (Value) programme, is also expected to boost productivity in small livestock.
Government and the European Union (EU) launched a US$45 million ZAGP fund in July this year to boost the livestock sector and focus on the goat and pig value chain is part of the programme.
Action Aid team leader for the ZAGP Mr Newton Chari last week said the project was aimes at capacitating smallholder farmers through improving the agribusiness environment and their production and productivity through linking them to markets.
“The pork value chain is aimed at providing pork for markets in Bulawayo and Harare and they (implementing agencies) have created production corridors in Matabeleland North and South for Bulawayo and Mashonaland East and West for the Harare market.
“The project is divided into champion, anchor and small to medium farmers and funding will be provided per capacity,” he said.
Mr Chari said they were encouraging the participation of young people and women in the programme that is targeting to benefit 600 people. The youths and young women are expected to undergo comprehensive training by the Pig Industry Board (PIB).
“Our main areas of focus for pig farmers are the sow unit, animal housing structure, commitment and passion of the farmer and also their capacity. We are working closely with Agritex extension officers who are making notable progress in terms of farmer mobilisation and farmer training,” said Mr Chari.
He encouraged farmers to adopt new technologies such as artificial insemination, which will help in improving the quality of breeds.
PIB director Mr Andrew Shoniwa said the ZAGP programme was a noble initiative that would bring sanity to the pig industry.
“The initiative is good and has a lot of potential. Through the intervention of ZAGP, farmers will be more organised and it is easier to source markets for organised groups than for individuals. ZAGP is really helping us a lot as an industry,” said Mr Shoniwa.
Mr Shoniwa also stressed that, “it is important that genetics are introduced in the pig industry but farmers should be trained before the introduction so that people know how to derive the best from them”.
Pork Production Association of Zimbabwe chairman Mr George Mudanga applauded the EU and Government for the launching the programme.
“This is a first for the pig industry. This programme is being allocated specific funding and we are really grateful for such an opportunity,” he said.