LIVESTOCK farmers in Matabeleland region have been urged to embrace goat production as the animals can easily adapt to the region’s climate.
Officially opening the Matabeleland North alternative mining indaba in Bubi district on Friday, Minister of State in Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office, Clifford Sibanda, said farmers should switch to small livestock to reduce risks associated with climate change.
“We believe the rolling out of the command livestock programme, particularly the small livestock such as sheep, goats and chickens, Bubi and Matabeleland regions in general, including such areas as the Midlands and Masvingo are poised for serious growth,” he said.
“During my visit to the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society (ZAS) in August, we established that some of the special goat breeds such as the Boer and Kalahari Red fetched up to $600 an animal, with a potential to produce two sets of twins per year,” he said.
“It is for this reason that I encourage Bubi Development Agricultural Society (BUDAS) to focus our farming efforts towards goat production.”
Sibanda said focusing on these breeds would benefit farmers, as these goats are said to have carcass weights of up to three times the average goat, at 36 kg; with goat meat being in demand both locally and in the international markets such as the United Arab Emirates, where it fetches as much as $19 per kilogramme.
He said over a million tonnes of maize has been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) with the 2017 wheat output expected to treble from the previous year’s output.
“Pleasing to us is that such farmers as Mary Ellen have put Bubi on the country’s agricultural map, reaching an average maize yield in excess of 12 tonnes per hectare,” he said.
“We, therefore, are encouraged by the efforts being made to set up BUDAS that will work to consolidate our farming efforts in the district.”