The European Union, EU funded ZAGP VALUE project facilitated Rushinga Goat Improvement Centre has come at time goat farmers in one of the driest parts of the country, Rushinga in Mashonaland Central, has been battle high kid mortalities, high stock theft incidences, and a sharp genetic scarcity in the area responsible for poor productivity, in-breeding and deformities.
Speaking at the event to officially open the Rushinga Goat improvement Centre, officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement, Hon Vangelis Peter Haritatos, the VALUE Project Steering Committee Chairperson, Mr. Joy Mabenge said that the Goat Improvement Centre shall ct as an aggregation centre for small goat producers to get a wide array of services.
Mr. Mabenge, said that his team commissioned a goat production needs assessment and discovered that the goat farmers used to suffer high kid mortalities of between 30 and 40 per cent; high disease prevalence; poor nutrition; and losses to middlemen who used to take upwards of 40 of the got share value.
The VALUE goat value chain development and improvement programme is in 12 districts in the country where over 10 000 goat farmers are set to benefit greatly, revealed Mr. Mabenge.
To improve the goat production for the smallholder farmers, Mr. Mabenge said his team introduced fresh genetics through the importation of 312 Boer Goats, Kalahari reds and other stronger breeds from Namibia, to help improve the local breeds.
From the Goat Improvement Centres, the local smallholder farmers are able to get, mating services, veterinary drugs, aggregated marketing services, direct goat sales, secondary aggregation and access to lucrative markets in bigger towns and cities in the country, said Mr. Mabenge.
The farmers are also to benefit on-farm feed formulation information and education to help reduce the cost of production and also help animal nutrition and health said Mr. Mabenge.
Speaking at the same event the European Union, EU, country representative for Agriculture, Environment and Private sector development, Benard De Schrevel, said that he is hopeful that the project managed to achieve all expectations.