DESPITE the lavishly growing tobacco and big curing barns at the Chandiringa homestead in Nemaire, Makoni District in Manicaland, one’s eye cannot miss a wonderfully made structure — a goat pen.
BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The pen was constructed in a special way such that it stands outstandingly at the eastern side of the yard.
This is the tale of goats that live in a two-storey pen, a rare thing that surprises many though very beneficial to the farmer.
The pen, referred to as the Improved Goat Pen (IGP), is a two-storey structure that with the goats occupying the upper room. The pen is constructed in a way that will see the domestic animals living in a very clean and dry room as the droppings are stored at the “ground floor”.
The goats use acute steps to get to the top.
Amos Chandiringa (43), a successful farmer in Nemaire, is one of the lucky farmers who benefitted from the Zimbabwe Livelihoods and Food Security Programme-Improved Nutrition for Sustainable Production and Increased Resilience for Economic growth (LFSP-INSPIRE), which aims to contribute to poverty reduction through increased incomes.
LFSP seeks to address constraints to productivity, market participation and the supply and demand of nutritious foods for smallholder farmers in select districts.
Chandiringa said they took the idea of constructing the Improved Goat Pen (IMP) from Buhera after realising its advantages.
“We copied the idea from Buhera and this is the improved goat pen that farmers ought to have at their homesteads. A goat pen should be dry so that they won’t suffer from diseases like pneumonia especially if they are overcrowded. The animals deserve fresh air. If these goats are living in the upper room, their droppings will be falling to the ground floor hence the pen remains clean and dry,” he said.
The goats looked clean and healthy as they are also fed with supplementary feeds like shelled maize and cowpeas.
According to Chandiringa, his goats have since multiplied from five to 35 for since 2015 when the IGP was constructed.
Petronella Karima, Agritex officer crop and livestock extension worker in Nemaire said it was high time communal farmers in Nemaire construct the IGP at their homesteads to improve productivity and nutrition.
“The IGP is the best structure any farmer needs to have. We are praying that in the next few years a number of farmers will copy the idea. So far, we have only two farmers with such pens in this area. Moreover, we are urging farmers to establish nutritional gardens at their homesteads so that they eat nutritious food every day,” he said.
“After a hard day in the fields a farmer can be tired to go to the main garden some distant to have vegetables for supper but with a small nutritional garden at home, he has fresh vegetables always.”
The LSFP-INSPIRE programme is being implemented by Practical Action.
With Chandiringa expecting a huge amount of money from tobacco sales, it is up to him to upgrade his house into a two storey building. But for now, his goats are living luxuriously and the pen still remains one of the attractive features at his homestead.