Locadia Mavhudzi, Midlands Correspondent
THE European Union has availed €6 million for the poultry extension services targeting the southern region of the country under the inclusive poultry value chain (IPVC) intervention scheme.
The programme targets 12 000 poultry farmers across the three provinces and seeks to enhance productivity through improved technical extension systems, financing for the production of raw materials as well as designing innovative solutions to reduce production costs.
Smallholder poultry farmers in Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo are now being relegated by commercial producers due to the high costs of feeds with the cost of a 50 kg bag of chick feed going for about $580.
Gweru district Poultry Producers’ Association chairperson, Mr Nhlanhla Nkala said the programme has come in handy to revive the sector, which was almost dying.
“We welcome the intervention of the integrated poultry value chain programme as it has come to revive our sector. We now have clusters of poultry producers in our districts and we are receiving technical support and linkages to improve our operations. As clusters we are now able to buy our inputs in bulk and even supply our products as joint partners,” he said.
Mr Nkala said some farmers have already received inputs to support the farming of drought resistant crops, which may be used as raw materials for the production of chicken feed.
“Here in Gweru we have already started receiving small grains inputs like sorghum so that we can use that when making chick feeds. We also have trainings lined up for the smallholder farmers to learn how to produce chick feeds so that our business becomes sustainable. We believe that is the way to go in the face of the harsh economic climate,” he said.
Meanwhile, IPVC business development manager Ms Joyleen Mutasa said the project was meant to equip smallholder farmers as they meet 60 percent of poultry demand. “Smallholder farmers produce the bulk of poultry needs in Zimbabwe hence we cannot ignore the industry. The European Union has injected six million Euros to improve the poultry value chain in Zimbabwe over the next three years,” she said.