WATCH: Matabeleland South goat farmers  target pure breeds Some of the goats which belong to Queen of Reds Farmer Field School group in Umzingwane District

Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, [email protected] 

MEMBERS of the Queen of Reds Farmer Field School in Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South Province have introduced the cross-breeds of Kalahari bucks and Matabele Boer goats, targeting to produce pure stud breeds for export.

The 27-member group which is based in Msizini Village, has a herd of 184 goats.

Mrs Sikhumbulile Dube was identified as the host farmer of the project by virtue of being a thriving goat breeder. Of the 184 goats, 100 belong to her. 

“Initially, I was into poultry farming and used the profits to venture into goat breeding. I started buying does from my neighbours and gradually my herd grew,” she said.

“I eventually reached a target of 100 goats and I maintained my herd by culling and selling poor performers and bucks.”

Mrs Dube said in March this year, she attended a Green Climate Fund workshop that was held at Esigodini Agricultural College. 

“We were trained and educated on rearing small livestock as they are ideal for our area which receives little rain. We were also trained on farmer field schools and we were tasked to go out and form as many farmer field schools as possible,” she said.

Mrs Dube said she engaged fellow farmers and shared the knowledge that she had acquired. They formed their farmer field school in April and invited their local Agritex extension officer who helped them to register their farmer field school.

The farmer field school became fully operational in May. 

“We are now cross-breeding Kalahari goats with pure Kalahari Reds. We network with other goat breeding groups and we share knowledge and sell our goats to them,” said Mrs Dube.

“Being part of the farmer field school has enriched us in a great way. This project doesn’t only benefit members of our group but we also host other farmers who visit us to learn.”

Queen of Reds farmer field school chairperson, Mr Vusumuzi Mpofu, said they contributed funds as members of the group to establish their herd. 

The goats are being kept in different homesteads belonging to members of the farmer field school. The group has a Kalahari pure buck which they are using to cross. 

The community is also benefiting from the buck. Mr Mpofu said they conduct their lessons and experiments at Mrs Dube’s homestead.

He said the farmer field school concept has helped farmers to maintain and properly manage herds. Mr Mpofu said by the end of next year they are looking forward to getting good returns from their project.

“So far we are having F1 crosses from that Kalahari buck. Our vision is to breed pure Kalahari because they have great advantages. They grow very fast and have a bigger frame,” he said.

“We have been selling goats locally, but we look forward to selling even countrywide and the Southern Africa. Come 2030, we want to become renowned stud goat breeders.”

Mr Mpofu said plans are underway to establish more farmer field schools within the district to equip our fellow farmers.

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development in partnership with the Green Climate Fund and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Building Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Agricultural Livelihoods in Southern Africa programme has rolled out the farmer field schools concept to promote peer to peer learning. 

Over 230 farmer field schools have been established under the programme.

The Building Climate Resilience of Vulnerable Agricultural Livelihoods in Southern Africa programme contributes towards the Government’s achievements of priorities outlined in its National Determined Contributions (NDC) and climate change plans and strategies including strengthening management of water resources and irrigation in the face of climate change.

The US$47,8 million programme, which started in June 2020, will run up until June 2027. The project is being implemented in 14 districts in three provinces.

In Matabeleland South, the project is being implemented in Umzingwane, Mangwe, Insiza, Matobo, Gwanda and Beitbridge districts.

UNDP Green Climate Fund project manager, Mr Rungano Benza said farmers in Umzingwane District are working closely with Esigodini Agricultural College. He said the institution, through its innovation centre, will assist farmer field schools with the best goat management strategies.

“Under this programme, at the community level, we have used the delivery model of the farmer field school which is a concept that the Government is also pushing. In Umzingwane, we have established 13 farmer field schools,” he said. —@DubeMatutu

You Might Also Like