THE first 30 000 goats under the Presidential Goat Scheme, which seeks to boost breeding stock and increase numbers and quality, will be distributed to provinces over the next two months.
The programme, which was launched in Chipinge earlier this month, will eventually see more than 600 000 goats being distributed to the small-scale sector.
The scheme is among a raft of measures launched by the Second Republic in crop and livestock sectors to rapidly build the output and capacity of small-scale sectors and ensure the overwhelming majority of rural households are able to enter the commercial sector.
Under the full scheme, 35 000 bucks and 597 000 does will be distributed in all villages.
The bucks are being assigned as three for each chief, two for each headman and one to each village head, and then the females are distributed to the villages.
The scheme is also set to benefit the elderly, women-headed families, people living with disabilities and youth-headed families as defined in the report of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee.
Chief Director Agriculture and Rural Advisory Services, Professor Obert Jiri, said the first 30 000 goats were ready for distribution.
The basic thrust is to introduce good genetics to the communities to upgrade the quality of the goat population.
“Distribution will start soon. Experts have inspected the goats so we can assure you these are the best breed of goats you are going to receive. The chief is going to get three he-goats, headperson will get two he-goats, the village head will get one he-goat and the rest of the community will get the females. This is a positive step towards improving the genetics of goats in communities,” Prof Jiri said.
Farmers who spoke to The Herald hailed the development saying the project will expand and upgrade the country’s goat industry to meet demand and market requirements.
Mrs Sinikiwe Dhliwayo of Mazowe said the programme was a positive development towards sustaining the goat industry noting that goats are not prone to many diseases, unlike cattle.
“This is a positive step. We lost a national cattle herd due to many tick-borne diseases. This is the way to go as we are reviving the meat industry. My hope is to expand the programme so that we can meet demand especially the international market,” she said.
Ms Yeukai Mavhunga of Zvimba hailed the programme saying demand for goat meat was high in the country and the region.
“There is an increase in demand for livestock products including goat meat and this will give an opportunity for Zimbabwe to have an increase in markets,’’ she said.
Mr Bernard Mudyariwa of Chegutu said the programme is a cash income business which does not require a lot of effort.
“If taken seriously, this is a business which brings more money in the family and does not require a lot of work. No sweat in goat rearing. We can get more money from this,” he said.
Goats are naturally easier and cheaper options for livestock production as they can thrive even in difficult conditions where there is less water.
Experts note that goats withstand drought conditions better than cattle and they can thrive on shrubs and need less manpower to tend to them.
In line with development that leaves no place and no one behind, the Government will empower 11 million people through the Presidential Inputs Scheme to ensure the attainment of an upper middle income economy by 2030. – Herald