The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading Empowerment (VALUE) project is in the process of finalising setting up artificial insemination stations in Mashonaland East and West provinces which should be ready to supply the imported boars’ semen to farmers soon.
The VALUE project is part of a four-year European Union-funded Euro 40 million programme under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP). VALUE is set to end in 2023 and is being implemented by Action Aid Zimbabwe as the leading organisation in partnership with Cordinated Delle Organisation (COSV) and Mercy Corps together with private sector livestock players.
Responding to questions from Sunday News, Action Aid Zimbabwe team leader Mr Newton Chari said they were finalising setting up of the artificial insemination stations to assist farmers access top best quality semen.
“We have taken delivery of the artificial insemination equipment imported from South Africa, that will see pig producers soon being able to access top quality semen. We imported 15 grandparent boars which we stationed at the two breeder farms and at the Pig Industry Board (PIB). Farmers have started accessing semen from the PIB for the equivalent of US$5 per dose. To enhance access to farmers, we are finalising set up of the Artificial Insemination stations in Mashonaland East and West provinces which should be ready to supply the semen from the imported boars soon,” said Mr Chari.
He also noted that the artificial insemination programme which will go a long way to improve access to the top-quality genetics by small and medium producers who in the past have had limited opportunities to access good breeds.
In terms of the goat value chain, Mr Chari said that the project has delivered improved bucks (Kalahari Red and Boer) at each goat improvement centre in the country and the centres have begun breeding services with local breeds.
“The breeding is being overseen by the Goat Producer Business Associations and farmers are being asked to pay nominal mating fees for the maintenance and sustainability of the centres. All the 12 goat improvement centres are complete with utilisation of the centres now in full throttle.”
Mr Chari said provision of breeding services, animal health, animal nutrition and marketing services were also now being offered at the centres and the breeding activities continue at the goat breeders farms where progeny will be accessible to project members and other farmers.
A total of US$40 000 was invested last year in the animal handling facility to construct 12 goat improvement centres in the 12 districts of Mbire, Rushinga, Chikomba, Mudzi, Chipinge, Buhera, Gwanda, Beitbridge, Matobo, Nkayi, Lupane and Binga.
“To date over 400 does (female goats) have been mated at the goat improvement centres. Goat farmers continue to be capacitated on fodder production and processing to ensure that they have supplementary feed for their goats during the dry season,” added Mr Chari.
He said they were operationalising goat improvement centres with a shift in focus from construction to stimulating commercial business services.
“During the first quarter of the year, several centres began to upscale commercial activities such as dipping services, mating services, bulk marketing of goat slaughter stock.
“For instance, in Rushinga, the inaugural goat auction was held where 41 goats were sold and an arrangement was reached with some private drug suppliers for the stocking of the drug store,” he said.
In addition, VALUE project facilitated capacity development trainings of 27 community-based market facilitators (MFs) comprising of 21 males and six females from Mudzi, Rushinga, Mbire, Chikomba, Buhera and Chipinge districts as part of efforts to stimulate collective action by goat producer associations and enhance the roles of BMUs in market development activities.
Mr Chari also noted that other business strategic planning and capacity building workshops were carried out for the 12 goat value chain districts to develop business plans, build the capacity of farmer associations to self-manage as well as build relationships with other market actors under the Goat Value Chain.
“The key outcomes from the workshops included the draft strategic plan for the associations which captured activities on the recruitment of personnel to manage the Business Management Units, growing the association through the recruitment of members, profiling of farmers in the associations and their production capacity, the adoption and access to improved goat breeds and developing and nurturing relationship with meat processors and buyers,” said Mr Chari.