HILLARY Nyakabau looks with joy at his three hectares of picture-perfect rolling green pastures and woodland south of Harare, with 100 goats gamboling happily around the place.
Report by Jairos Saunyama
His farm is visible alongside the Harare-Chitungwiza Highway where people from all walks of life come every God-given day, with some days being characterised by endless queues.
Motorists in various types of vehicles throng the farm to buy goat meat.
With the raging prices of beef in the country, many people have turned to other relish that suits their pockets. And this has seen goat farms emerging in and around Harare as the demand of the meat is increasing by day.
The popular place Kumbudzi, in Glen Norah, is slowly being overshadowed by these farms which have ventured into full-time goat rearing.
Chevon or mutton — as goat meat is often called — is now found in abandance in most city butcheries and it is said to be selling more than beef.
NewsDay visited one of the farms, Kachepo, along Seke Road, where goats and sheep are being sold for between $45 and $60.
“This is a good business and I can confirm that it’s brisk especially this festive season. People are no longer interested in beef because of its exorbitant prices.
“We sell more than 20 goats here per day. Butcheries buy in bulk,” said Shephered Gwese, one of the workers at the farm.
“Last festive season we even hiked our prices after realising that we couldn’t meet the demand,” said Obvious Njanji.
One of the buyers, Munyaradzi Munyoro, said he came to like goat meat after beef became unaffordable.
“It’s now quite clear that goat meat is the way to go as far as prices are concerned. You can get a full carcass here and you are ‘covered’ for the whole month.
“In supermarkets, chevon costs between $3 and $5, while beef goes for $6. Because of this difference in prices, I buy goat meat,” he said.
Most butcheries in the capital are now selling goat and sheep meat as demand continues to rise.
“We are moving with time these days. We now sell goat and sheep meat.
“We buy these animals from farms around and sometimes we go to the rural areas,” said Paradzai Chimowa, who owns a butchery in Marondera.
However, one of the goat sellers who refused to be named bemoaned how supermarkets are slowly taking over the sell of goat meat from Kumbudzi which popularised goat meat in the capital.
“Bussiness is no longer viable like before. People now have faith in supermarkets and goat farms. We have reduced the prices to $30 for us to remain in the game. We buy the goats in rural areas for an average price of $25 and then we need transport to come back to Harare.
“We are falling on hard times because of competition,” he said.
With the demand for goat meat increasing, reports of thieves pouncing on unsuspecting goat farmers are on the rise.
These thieves steal goats at night and sell them to their dealers.
Apart from being cheap, according to nutritionist Lucy Makamba, goat meat is tasty and has essential nutritional values.
“It’s no coincidence that many high days and holidays feature a feast of goat, for example, chilli-fried goat. Goat meat is better than beef. It is lower in cholesterol and fat than beef, pork or lamb and high in protein and iron,” she said.
There are more than two million goats in Zimbabwe.
Nearly all goats (about 98%) are kept in the communal areas. The vast majority of them are indigenous.
Within the agro-ecological zones, there exists a variable population of a wide variety or type of goat which has become adapted to the environment.
Goats are used for income generation or improvements in living standards through the production of meat, milk and skins.
But it seems as if the population is set to decrease as people jostle for their meat.