THE European Union (EU) has sunk €7,3 million into the value chain alliance for livestock upgrading empowerment (Value) project on pigs and goats targeting 856 000 small-scale farmers.

The EU-funded project, which runs till January 2023, is being implemented in Manicaland, Matabeleland South and North, Mashonaland Central, East and West with ActionAid as the lead implementing organisation working with private partners such as Mercy Corps, Shamiso, Zvikomborero, Michview and Braford farms.

A total of 224 Kalahari Red, Boer and Saneen goat breeds were imported from Namibia in December as part of the Value, which is run under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) to capacitate smallholder farmers. This is meant to improve their goat and pig breeds, production and productivity with a view to commercialise their farming activities.

Women and youth are set to benefit from the project. ActionAid team leader Newton Chari said after doing consultations in Matabeleland North and South they discovered that most people who were into goat production were women.

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“After doing our consultations we discovered that women were the most active in goat production and because of that discovery we are going to engage women and youth in proper training, working hand in glove with the Pig Industry Board (PIB) to make them learn how to commercialise their goats and pigs,” Chari said.

Chari encouraged goat farmers to try exotic breeds like the Boer and the Red Kalahari to improve the quality of goats they produce.

“I would like to challenge goat farmers to make a profit by cross breeding their goats with exotic ones like the Red Kalahari and the Boer goat so as to produce good quality goats which in turn will bring them money,” Chari said.

Michview technical manager, Lindani Ncube added: “The project seeks to basically improve goat commercialisation in the country. As you have seen all along, people have not been commercialising the goat industry.”

Michview is undertaking the programme in six districts in the Matabeleland region; namely Beitbridge, Matobo, Lupane, Nkayi, Binga and Gwanda with Zvikomborero Farm overseeing the programme in six districts from Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland provinces.

Bulawayo and Harare are two major consumers of goat meat according to a research conducted by ActionAid Zimbabwe while Beitbridge has the highest number of goats followed by Gwanda.