The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
FARMERS have been encouraged to practice biosecurity measures so as to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases, parasites, pests and invasive alien species.
The Inclusive Poultry Value Chain (IPVC) project has been training extension workers from Agritex on biosecurity. The good agricultural practices trainings are being conducted across all Poultry Business Associations (PBA) with over 2 367 members benefiting.
The IPVC project is part of a larger EU-funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) that was launched in Zimbabwe in June 2019. The 40-million-Euro initiative seeks to boost the beef, dairy, pig, goat and poultry production.
According to the latest newsletter from the ZAGP, robust biosecurity trainings are on-going across all clusters, with emphasis on good agricultural practices. The trainings are meant to educate farmers on the adoption of good agricultural practices to prevent diseases and mortalities. ZAGP said farmers are also being trained on good cleaning and disinfection of poultry houses, brooding, common diseases and culling.
“The IPVC project is also collaborating with the Department of Veterinary Services on a poultry diseases awareness campaign aimed at educating poultry farmers on disease prevention, symptoms and cure. The campaign aimed will include community radio infomercials, fliers and brochures, to be distributed across the country to poultry farmers and stakeholders,” read part of the newsletter.
In terms of a drug revolving fund, ZAGP said the fund for vet drugs and vaccines has been mobilized by the project to ensure a last mile distribution of poultry medicines and vaccines at discounted prices.
It said that vet drugs sold under this model are 15 percent cheaper relative to market price, serving as an enabler for farmers to better compete on the end-market.
“Furthermore, the fund is promoting farmers to vaccinate their birds. The PBA pilot poultry shops thus enable farmer group purchase of vaccines, enabling economies of scale and scope to SMP vaccine access. The project has also partnered with Fivet, who are offering farmers laboratory services for the diagnostics of various diseases and advice on the best remedies,” said ZAGP.
Poultry Business Associations in all clusters are said to be linking poultry farmers to the market by construction live market sheds where farmers will be selling live birds and eggs. ZAGP said currently live market sheds in all five clusters, and their sub-hubs are under construction and nearing completion. While the sheds have a minimum capacity of 1 000 birds, they will have lockable lockers for eggs.
“Their locations are easily accessible to running water and toilet facilities. The live bird market shed will go a long way in providing a market for poultry farmers,” read part of the newsletter.
The IPVC project is also offering technical assistance to farmers and assisting them with vaccinating their birds.
ZAGP is complemented by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Services (ZAKIS) which is mandated to work with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement to coordinate market-oriented education and extension services across the five value chains.