BY SILAS NKALA
THE Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading and Empowerment (VALUE) project has, in partnership with the Goat Breeders Association of Zimbabwe (GBAZ), developed breeding standards for indigenous goats.
This was revealed in a statement by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) last week.
ZAGP noted that the standards were meant to promote conservation, utilisation of indigenous goat breeds in Zimbabwe and provide a training guide to farmers to be stud breeders.
Project team leader, Newton Chari said the development of breed standards was important given that appropriate genetics were key to attaining the desired production, productivity and market competitiveness in the goat value chain.
“This initiative was prudent to ensure inasmuch as the promotion of better framed exotic breeds is happening, breeding of the Mashona and Matabele goats is not left out,” Chari said.
The development of the standards came against a background of low commercial production of indigenous goats aimed at promoting indigenous goats breeding.
Renowned indigenous goat expert, Joe Sikosana, who was engaged to develop the breed standards, said: “The compilation of breed standards will assist farmers to be stud breeders of indigenous goats and aid in the conservation of local breeds.”
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The GBAZ was formed in 2018 to address challenges in the goat industry such as the absence of a formal structure, lack of economies of scale, training and value chain integration, low commercialisation, and poor institutional framework.
It is believed that the development of the standards will assist in the promotion of the local breeds.
GBAZ chairperson and managing director of Zvikomborero Farms, Divine Ndhlukula said with over four million goats being owned by smallholder farmers, it was time that the goat industry got attention and support by ensuring the smallholder farmers access technical training and expertise.
Tthe VALUE project partners ActionAid, Mercy Corps, COSV, Michview Enterprises and Zvikomborero Farms are working with small-scale producer associations in Buhera, Chikomba, Chipinge, Mudzi, Mbire, Rushinga, Beitbridge, Binga, Gwanda, Matobo, Lupane and Nkayi.
The project is expected to positively impact on the economic opportunities for 800 000 small-scale goat farmers.
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