Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE Command Livestock model will be tabled before Cabinet in a few weeks time and if approved will then be rolled out across the country, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday.
Responding to questions during the International Business Conference held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo, the VP said the command livestock model was part of the broader food security and nutrition thrust aimed at boosting economic growth and creating jobs.
Once approved, he said Government would clarify the modalities of the programme implementation to livestock farmers and other stakeholders.
The model draws inspiration from the successful Command Agriculture scheme which has so far been implemented in the cropping sector.
“We have come up with a proposal document on Command livestock. This document will be presented to Cabinet on May 9, 2017 for approval. The paper articulates how the programme will be run and how the farmers under the programme will be financed,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“It (programme) will concentrate more on the southern region of the country. The programme will cater for farmers involved in beef, dairy and other livestock such as poultry.”
Most farmers in the southern parts of the country are into livestock farming because of the marginal rains normally received. Efforts are already underway to capacitate the Cold Storage Company (CSC) to spearhead the programme given its capacity as a giant meat processing firm in the country.
“As soon as the document is approved by Cabinet, the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made will be able to officially announce the finer details.
“Adequate research has been done and the funds have been sourced. We’re ready to roll and I’m sure the farmers are ready too,” VP Mnangagwa added.
He said the Government would also engage the private sector to fund the programme in respect of the provision of machinery and chemicals required.
Increasing food production both grain and livestock is at the heart of the Zim-Asset programme. Dr Made recently announced a $150 million livestock programme to cover restocking, equipment, pasture development and resuscitation of CSC.
He said some 600 000 livestock farmers in Matabeleland and Masvingo provinces were already stacking hay and paddocking as part of the initiative dubbed Command Livestock.
The Government wants to catapult Zimbabwe’s beef industry back to annual exports of 14 000 tonnes, which were last achieved in 1999.