Export opportunities for breeders

The Sunday Mail

Commercial orientation
Allan Majuru

Discussions of export opportunities in agriculture often focus on traditional export commodities such as tobacco and peas, as well as emerging crops such as blueberries and macadamia nuts.

Although they are generally the highest paid, the capital needed for meaningful production is often high, especially for smallholders and rural farmers who make up the majority of farmers in the country.

For farmers looking to participate in traditional export activities, there are inherent opportunities in local communities that can be marketed.

This will not only provide export options for smallholders and rural farmers, but will also integrate them into mainstream economic activities, helping to ensure that no one or place is left behind in line with the direction of the Second Republic. .

Traditionally, there are products and livestock that can be easily produced at relatively lower cost under local conditions.

Experts say goats and sheep can withstand drought better than cattle and can survive on shrubs, making them a relatively better choice than other livestock.

While most households raise goats and sheep for their own consumption, there is scope to increase the number of herders raising these animals specifically for export.

The demand for goat and mutton meat is growing exponentially, making it difficult for local producers to meet orders.

To address the challenge, President Mnangagwa has since launched the National Rural Goats Program, which will see vulnerable groups, youth and women in rural communities receive goats for free.

However, they will be expected to be passed on to other recipients when the animals give birth.

The $87 million presidential rural goat program will benefit more than three million households and increase the goat population nationwide.

There is already a market for goat and sheepmeat produced in Zimbabwe in international markets, as confirmed by the recent Dubai Domestic Buyers Mission organized by ZimTrade, the national trade promotion and development organization.

During business-to-business exchanges between local farmers and buyers from Dubai, goat and mutton meat was one of the main areas of interest.

Some organizations have already committed to working with private actors to achieve Halal certification, which is a requirement when exporting meat and other food products to the UAE.

What is important now is to identify supply gaps that local farmers can fill, as well as find sustainable solutions that will allow smallholders and rural farmers to easily consolidate and expand their capacities. Global Opportunities

Goats and sheep are eaten around the world

Unlike other products like beef and pork, they play a unique role in traditional events and religious gatherings.

Data from Trade Map shows that imports of goat and sheep meat have increased over the past five years, from $6.9 billion in 2017 to $8.6 billion in 2021.

Currently, the biggest importers are China ($2.4 billion), the United States of America ($1.4 billion), France ($893 million), the United Kingdom ($368 million). dollars), Germany (323 million dollars). and the United Arab Emirates ($322 million).

Countries like China and the UK already have good trade relations with Zimbabwe, as they import products such as tobacco and horticultural products.

Zimbabwean farmers can use existing supply routes to introduce locally produced goat and sheep meat to markets.

There are also opportunities to provide live animals.

The global import value of live goats and sheep was US$1.4 billion in 2021, of which the main importers were Saudi Arabia (US$494 million), Jordan (US$167 million ), Kuwait (US$89.5 million) and Italy (US$63 million).

It is necessary to ensure that farmers can access these markets.

Production increase

As the presidential program for rural goats takes off, communities must look beyond livestock as a source of meat for household consumption, but as a viable export product.

According to the first crop and livestock assessment report 2020/2021, the local goat population has increased from around 3.9 million in the 2019/2020 season to almost four million in the 2020 season. /2021.

During the same period, the total sheep population fell from 548,000 to around 700,000.

Commercialization of the subsector will help increase production and address challenges associated with mortality, including losses from predators and theft.

Farmers need to adopt better husbandry practices, consider hybrids, and treat goat and sheep farming as a business.

In recent years there has been an increase in the number of farmers considering breeds such as Boer, which are said to have fast growth rates and are good for meat production.

Farmers need to organize themselves to consolidate and reach the required numbers.

Smallholder farmers are generally the best goat keepers.

Export-friendly farming techniques and standards should also be introduced.

As current production is lower than demand, it can be difficult for a single farmer to sustain demand over longer periods.

However, it is encouraging that a few associations have formed to share ideas.

Allan Majuru is the CEO of ZimTrade.