The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading and Empowerment (VALUE) project in partnership with the Goat Breeders Association of Zimbabwe (GBAZ) has developed breeding standards for the Matabele and Mashona indigenous goats.
The standards are meant to promote conservation, utilization of indigenous goat types in Zimbabwe and provide a training guide for farmers, who keep indigenous goats, to be stud breeders.
In a statement, VALUE project Team Leader, Mr Newton Chari said the development was important given that appropriate genetics are key to attaining the desired production.
“The development of the breed standards is important given that appropriate genetics are key to attaining the desired production, productivity, and market competitiveness in the goat value chain.
“This initiative was thus prudent to ensure in as much as the promotion of better framed exotic breeds is happening, breeding of the Mashona and Matabele Goats is not left out,” said Mr Chari.
The development of the indigenous goat breed standards is against a background of low commercial production of indigenous goats and is aimed at promoting indigenous goats stud breeding.
Renowned indigenous goat expert, Mr Joe Sikosana who was engaged to develop the breed standards said the compilation of breed standards will assist farmers to be stud breeders of indigenous goats and aid in the conservation of local breeds.
GBAZ chairperson and Zvikomborero Farms managing director, Dr Divine Ndhlukula said it was time the goat industry got attention and support.
“With over 4 million goats being owned by smallholder farmers, it is time that the goat industry gets the attention and support by ensuring the smallholder farmers access technical training and expertise.
“Work on improving their local breeds to transform the breeds for better growth to achieve commercialization that will in turn give them good financial returns from the goats,” said Dr Ndhlukula.
She that they believe the development of the breed standards will assist in the promotion of the local breeds.
GBAZ was formed in 2018 to address challenges in the goat industry such as the absence of a formal structure, lack of economies of scale, training and value chain integration, low commercialisation, and poor institutional framework.
The VALUE project is part of the European Union funded 40 million Euros Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP).
VALUE is funded at the tune of 7.3 million Euros to implement activities in the goat and pork value chains in 20 districts. Under the goat value chain, the VALUE project partners ActionAid, Mercy Corps, COSV, Michview Enterprises and Zvikomborero Farms. The project is expected to positively impact on the economic opportunities for 800 000 small-scale goat farmers.