Livestock sector gains momentum towards $3.4bn target by 2025

25 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Livestock sector gains momentum towards $3.4bn target by 2025

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter 

WITH the Government setting a target of growing the sector to a value of US$3.4 billion by 2025, the livestock industry’s ongoing strides in bolstering productivity and addressing livestock mortalities are pivotal in driving the ambitious growth trajectory. 

As the sector continues to make substantial progress, expectations are high for its substantial contribution to the national economy in the coming years. The livestock sector remains a focal point for positive developments and successes, as concerted efforts to enhance its performance gain traction.

Giving an update on the livestock sector in Zimbabwe and strategies in place to achieve set targets, director for Livestock Production and Development in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Sithokozile Sibanda said livestock production was on a growth trajectory in the country. 

“The Ministry has just since concluded the first round of Crop, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment for 2023 and is also gearing up to carry out a livestock census. The Department is embarking on a trajectory to increase the production and productivity of livestock and livestock products of all species as well as to increase offtake. 

“To highlight the end of 2022 statistics, in 2022 the national beef herd increased from 5.5 million cattle to 5.6 million cattle which showed a two percent increase in the beef herd. The national average offtake of beef cattle decreased from 10 percent to eight percent in 2022, while the beef carcass weight increased from 1,68kg in 2021 to 1,80kg in 2022.”

She said at the same time, milk production increased by 15 percent from 79,6 million litres in 2021 to 91,3 million litres. On production of broiler day-old chicks, Dr Sibanda said they increased by 28 percent from 91,6 million in 2021 to 113,9 million in 2022, while broiler meat production increased by 32 percent from 143,5 thousand tonnes 191,8 thousand tonnes. 

“Commercial pigs slaughter at abattoirs increased by 12 percent, goat population increased by 14 percent and sheep population increased by three percent. The Government has embarked on several flagship programmes to improve the production and productivity of livestock and livestock products.”

Dr Sibanda said there was a programme to supply one-hectare inputs to 2000 smallholder dairy farmers for maize silage production to increase milk production. Among other programmes, she said the Government has been providing forage legumes seeds such as velvet beans, lablab and sunhemp to smallholder farmers to improve livestock nutrition. 

“There is also the hay baling programme which looks at the preservation and conservation of the veld grasses to supply to the needy areas during the lean seasons. The Government has also embarked on a Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme which is supplying indigenous poultry chicks to the communities in order to improve the nutrition and livelihoods of the smallholder communities. To date, a total of 1,3 million chicks have been distributed countrywide in all provinces,” she said. 

Dr Sibanda, said the Presidential Goat Pass-On Scheme has supplied vulnerable groups and bucks to village heads as well as chiefs, while a total of 6 897 goats have been distributed to improve nutrition and livelihoods. 

In terms of the Artificial Insemination programme which is geared at improving animal breeding systems and genetics, she said through the programme the Government was encouraging the preservation, conservation and utilisation of indigenous genetics. 

“Personnel from Rural Development Advisory Services (Ardas) and the Veterinary Department have been trained on artificial insemination at Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) to roll it out in communities,” she added. 

Dr Sibanda said, as a Department they were promoting the revival of old grazers’ schemes and also establishing new ones, which were meant to improve on quality and value of the produced beef and the marketed beef animals. 

She said they were also rolling out a programme whereby they are providing inputs to farmers for urea-treated stover to improve livestock nutrition.

 “We also have the Apiculture programmes geared at promoting the establishment of apiary sites to improve nutrition and livelihoods. The plan is to establish at least one apiary in the 35 000 villages across the country.”

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