Govt moves to restore beef exports
VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa says rebuilding the national herd and restoring beef exports is critical in revitalising the economy.
Efforts to restock the national herd by the Government and private players have been hampered by recurrent droughts and the outbreak of diseases such as foot and mouth.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of State in his office, Clifford Sibanda at the recentlyheld Midlands Show, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Government was pursuing new measures such as the growing of pastures to support livestock production.
“In the context of supporting the livestock sector and the desire to rebuild our national herd and regain our beef export status, the Government is pursuing new innovations such as the commercial growing of pastures.
“This initiative will also have the added advantage of reducing the national grain demand. Currently, grain such as maize is being shared between people and animals in the form of stockfeed.
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“Farmers are thus urged to grab these emerging opportunities and grow their wealth,” said the VP.
He said the Government through the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) has embarked on grass farming at one of its estates in Mangwe District in Matabeleland South.
Already 2 000 hectares have been put under grass farming, which has the capacity to feed 60 000 head of cattle.
The development is likely to mitigate the effects of the current drought that has already killed more than 7 000 head of cattle in Masvingo, Matabeleland and the Midlands.
In the Midlands the Government has embarked on a supplementary feeding programme through selling stock feed to farmers at subsidised prices to avert further cattle deaths in the province especially in Mberengwa.
This is likely to stimulate the beef industry, which was once the hub of the commercial farming sector, where beef exports used to earn over $100 million per year.
Zimbabwe’s cattle population has declined from 6,8 million in 2000 to the current 5,2 million and beef slaughters have deteriorated to 200 000, from 605 000 in 2000. — @lavuzigara1