RAFFS Project gamechanger for women: AU-IBAR director

Officials from government, AU-IBAR and AWARFA-N members pose for a photo during the official launch of the RAFFS Project in Harare on Tuesday

AFRICAN Union – InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) director Huyam Salih says the Resilient African Feeds and Fodder Systems (RAFFS Project) is expected to transform the Zimbabwe African Women in Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N).

In a speech read on her behalf by AU-IBAR senior knowledge management officer Patricia Lumba on Tuesday during the official launch of the RAFFS Project in Zimbabwe, Salih said the project seeks to empower women.

“One of the result areas of the RAFFS Project is empowerment of women in the feed and fodder and the livestock sourced foods value chains,” she said.

“The AWARFA-N Zimbabwe Chapter is expected to be one of the most vibrant, organized and empowered with visible achievements. The RAFFS Project will support consolidation of the AWARFA-Net Zimbabwe five-year strategy and resource  mobilization plan.”

The director said the chapter will engage with financial and insurance institutions to begin the process of strengthening women in the animal resources sector to access tailored credit and insurance services and undertake some capacity building.

“Today, we gathered at the Zimbabwe RAFFS Project Inception Workshop to highlight the importance of enhancing access to feed and fodder.

“We are here to shed light on the RAFFS Project, discuss the impact of the 3C crises, and unveil the Zimbabwe Chapter of the AWARFA-Net. This workshop marks the beginning of our efforts to assess and address these crucial matters within the country.”

She expressed her gratitude to the government of Zimbabwe for prioritising the development of the feed and fodder sector.

Salih said this focus has the potential to significantly impact key development and economic indicators within Zimbabwe's livestock production.

“AU-IBAR eagerly anticipates collaborating with you to amplify the significance of the feed and fodder sector. Together, we aim to fortify its role as a critical component in bolstering livestock production and attaining food and nutrition security,” she said.

“We are dedicated to the successful implementation of the project  activities and fostering a productive partnership between AU-IBAR and the government of Zimbabwe. Your support is invaluable as we work towards achieving our common objectives.”

Zimbabwe was identified as one of the six core countries including Cameroon, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Livestock feeding constitutes 60-70% of the total cost of livestock production and Africa’s feed and fodder resources have been greatly affected by the global triple C crises.

The director said there was massive loss of 9,5 million livestock, worth over US$2 billion, in the recent drought in the Greater Horn of Africa region resulting in the loss of invaluable livestock genetic resources, developed over decades and the key factor for livelihoods and incomes especially for pastoralists and small holders who produce over 80% of meat and milk in the region.

“There were also huge losses for downstream stakeholders and retailing businesses,” she noted.

Zimbabwe has also lost a significant herd of cattle due to drought.

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