The Action Aid Zimbabwe Country Director and VALUE Project Steering Committee Chairperson, Mr. Joy Mabenge has hailed the official launch of the Artificial Insemination station at pork value chain integrator,Braford Farming, in Chegutu as part of the European Union supported Zimbabwe Agriculture Growth Programme, ZAGP.
Mr. Mabenge said that in, “developing the project model, it was immediately clear to us that the challenges bedeviling the small and medium pork producers were mammoth, requiring both patience and expertise to surmount.”
He added that from the onset, “the production side, the scarcity of breeders in and around producers’ geographical areas was a great cause for concern to us and the pig industry at large. Our immediate priority was to intervene and improve the supply of genetics, which was becoming tired, and inbreeding was on a crescendo.”
The Action Aid Zimbabwe Country Director, said that, “our efforts to address the challenges at the production node took shape with the importation of 244 top quality breeding stock from South Africa. These were put in the custody of three breeder farms including Braford Farm, Shamiso Farms, and the Pig Industry Board to propagate and pass on to the small and medium scale farmers at competitive prices.”
“To date, 341 pigs in the form of weaners, breeding gilts, boars and over 3400 doses of semen have been sold as at end of September 2021 in the Mashonaland East and West production corridors. The completion of the Artificial Insemination station for the Mashonaland West production corridor will witness an increase in semen uptake thus boosting production and improving access to these supreme genetics among the pork producers:, revealed Mr. Mabenge.
Under the project, Mr. Mabenge said that his team, “carried out a scoping study of the pig and goat value chains to ascertain performance and key areas that required our intervention. One of the areas highlighted was capacity gaps especially among youth and women farmers. As a project we have a very important component to address this through the weaner to finisher model.”
Under the project the beneficiary farmers received training in collaboration with the Pig Industry Board.
His organisation, “responded to the high cost of feed, which takes upto 80 or 90 per cent of production costs. We engaged experts in the field of feed research to undertake applied research into affordable alternative on farm feeds. The results of the research showed that with on farm feed formulation, farmers can reduce feed costs by close to a third as compared to using straight feeds, said Mr. Mabenge.
The primary focus of VALUE interventions was to organise farmers, improve their genetics through injection of superior breeds, reduce feed cost, lower transportation costs through provision of two ten-ton trucks (one of which you have seen during the tour), expand slaughter, processing, and cold chain facilities thereby increasing net incomes for commercial oriented small to medium producers. In this regard, I am happy to inform you, esteemed delegates, that the project registered 1178 pig producers in Mashonaland East and West who now form the Provincial Pig Producers Business Syndicates – associations driving collective action along the entire value chain.
Mr. Mabenge challenged the Mashonaland West pig producers’ leadership here represented to take full advantage of the investments made available by the government, European Union, and private sector in this project to grow to unprecedented levels.