Zimbabwe’s Beef Industry Booms as Government Invests in Farmers

Government support programme boosts cattle production and exports

by Motoni Olodun

Zimbabwe is enjoying a remarkable surge in beef production, thanks to the government’s support to the smallholder farmers who dominate the sector. According to the Finance, Investment Promotion and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, the country recorded a 13 percent increase in the number of cattle slaughtered in the 12-month period to September 2023.

Speaking at the ZANU PF conference in Gweru over the weekend, the minister said that the government had embarked on several initiatives to boost the industry’s growth, including investing in disease control, infrastructure development, and facilitating market access for beef producers. He also said the government was exploring international trade agreements and partnerships to expand beef exports, especially into markets across Southern Africa and Europe.

Zimbabwean farmers have also adopted improved livestock management practices, improving cattle growth and health. The government’s proactive measures to control livestock diseases, such as foot and mouth, anthrax, and tick-borne diseases, have also led to healthier cattle populations. The minister added that substantial investments had been made in upgrading abattoirs, transportation, and storage facilities, which have streamlined the processing and distribution of beef.

The beef industry is one of the key drivers of Zimbabwe’s economy, accounting for about 15 percent of the agricultural GDP and providing livelihoods for more than half of the population. However, the industry has faced numerous challenges in the past, such as droughts, outbreaks of diseases, low productivity, and limited access to markets. The government’s support program aims to address these challenges and transform the sector into a competitive and profitable.

Economist Dr Prosper Chitambara said that the surge in beef production had significant economic implications for the country. He said that with the increasing global demand for high-quality beef, Zimbabwe was well-positioned to increase its beef exports, which could bolster foreign exchange earnings and support the nation’s balance of payments. He also said that the industry’s growth had created additional job opportunities in cattle farming, meat processing, and related sectors, reducing unemployment rates.

The minister also said that the higher beef production ensured a stable and secure meat supply for domestic consumption, playing a crucial role in maintaining Zimbabwe’s food security and helping to manage inflation as prices became steady. Other analysts said that expanding the beef industry would benefit the country’s rural communities by providing a more lucrative source of income and a means to improve living standards.

Zimbabwe’s beef industry has challenges that must be addressed for sustained growth. The government has been urged to ensure the quality and safety of beef products, maintain high-level disease control measures, and address environmental and sustainability concerns associated with cattle farming. However, with the government’s commitment and support, as well as the farmers’ resilience and innovation, Zimbabwe’s beef industry is poised for a bright future.

Source: The Herald


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