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Zim needs more funds for livestock welfare: WPO

Agriculture
Sheep

THE United Kingdom-based animal rights charity, World Animal Protection (WPO) says the US$35,69 million loan from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) given to Zimbabwe last year should have included monies towards livestock welfare.

Last November, IFAD, a United Nations specialised agency focusing on food security and poverty in rural areas of developing countries, announced a US$67,4 million investment programme titled the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project (SACP).

IFAD will finance US$35,69 million of this investment project expected to run until 2026.

SACP is aimed at increasing productivity and household incomes of small-scale farmers as well as increasing farmers’ participation in market oriented and climate-smart value chains.

However, the WPO raised concern that international lenders such as IFAD were not doing enough towards animal welfare in countries they run livestock projects.

“There is no reference to animal welfare in the project design report for the Zimbabwe: Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project,” WPO said, in its latest report titled Closing The Financing Gap that speaks against large, industrial and intensive livestock production — also known as factory farming.

“This is a loan to the government for US$35,7 million to support multiple types of production, including beef, goats, pigs, poultry and sheep.”

Research from LIPS-Zim, a European Union funded project aimed at increasing livestock local productivity covering the 2020-23 period, found that animal health management, improved breeds and improved feed were key to enhancing resilience.

Based on the research, tick-borne diseases were causing high cattle mortality owing to lack of repairs to communally-owned dip tanks and lack of regular supply of acaricide.

Other vector diseases are affecting livestock at a time when there is a lack of efficient control and monitoring of animal diseases.

Moreover, there is lack of adequate veterinary service delivery (disease surveillance and vaccination coverage).

As a result, WPO wants funding dedicated to animal welfare in livestock production in Zimbabwe and all over the world.

“Livestock provides income and employment to farmers, agricultural service providers and others involved in the value chain. Zimbabwe’s livestock production system is characterised by small-scale subsistence farming,” IFAD said, in the SACP project description.

“Despite the importance of livestock to rural livelihoods, productivity remains low. This is linked to farmer behaviour, feed unavailability and cost, poor quality of animals, diseases and frequent droughts.”

The WPO found that factory farming relied on importing feed which requires large land clearing in export countries that creates economic disadvantages for small-scale farmers.

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