ZIMBABWE African Women in Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N) president Jacqueline Gowe has pleaded with the government to give them a piece of land to conduct their operations.
Launched in 2021, the organisation lobbies for women active participation into the mainstream livestock sector, seeks to provide an enabling environment for the women, food security for the nation and employment creation.
AWARFA-N was established under the ambit of AU-IBAR.
Currently, it has 169 members coming from 10 provinces of Zimbabwe. It collectively owns 2 500 beef and dairy cattle, 800 goats, 2 440 colonies of bees providing the largest pollination service, 10 000 broiler and free-range chicken, and 500 sheep and rabbits.
Speaking during the launch of the Resilient African Feeds and Fodder Systems (RAFFS Project) in Harare on Tuesday, Gowe said it would help them achieve their vision.
“I was glad to note that you will be launching the RAFFS Project Honourable deputy minister (Vangelis Haritatos) as if you recall at the launch, we informed you that we do not have land for the AWARFA Network,” she said.
“The farming enterprise is running on rented land. It is our plea to have access to land and equipment for the value addition of feed and fodder so we can grow for the livestock sector.”
She later told NewsDay in an interview that they will use the land to do various projects such as artificial insemination and feedlot, among others.
“We need a place where we can train women because right now there's so many women groups doing different things but there is no place where you can say I can go and see what they are doing with feed and fodder or processing the feed and fodder value addition of feed or livestock,” she said.
“So, we were hoping if we acquired a piece of land, we could then have a demo of the feed and fodder. We can also do our artificial insemination, feedlot, have our livestock there and have a training room where other women can come and get trained.
“Right now, we don't even have a proper office facility. So, we kind of use our own private offices as the AWARFA-N offices. Going forward, we really need to make this a national chapter. We have a few representations from different provinces, but to cascade our knowledge to the grassroots, we need a base.”
She hopes that the project will assist them on the establishment of fodder plots, capacity building of new members, processing of various crops, export lucerne hay into the United Arab Emirates, sustainable livestock production at household level, establishment of abattoir as well as artificial insemination programme.
The RAFFS Project is expected to run for three years.