Rutendo Nyeve, Business Reporter
GOAT farmers from the southern region are set to scale up their efforts as they seek to migrate from subsistence to commercial farming with the broader objective to penetrate the global market.
The first step towards this vision has seen socio-economic empowerment organisation Affirmative Action Group (AAG), in partnership with NKN Breeding Solutions and Sikhosana Bucks and Poultry, conducting a goat farming seminar at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Centre in Bulawayo on Saturday to cross pollinate ideas on breeding techniques, breed improvements, goat housing as well as nutrition and health.
Farmers from Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and Midlands provinces attended the seminar held under the theme: “Migrating from subsistence to commercial goat farming.”
Goats are one of the greatest potential export products with global sources like the United Arab Emirates being the largest source market.
Farmers were taken through presentations by NKN Breeding Solutions technical director Mr Nkanyiso Ngwenya, Sikhosana Bucks and Poultry founder and director, Mr Ayanda Sikhosana, representatives from ZimTrade, Zimbabwe Women’s Microfinance Bank, SeedCo and consultants on critical components of goat farming towards boosting production and in the end exporting.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) vice-president for the southern region Mr Louis Herbst was the guest of honour.
Speaking on the sidelines of the seminar, AAG Bulawayo Chapter chairperson Mr Bukhosi Ncube said goat farming was a viable business with a great potential to empower people’s lives.
“What we have observed is that goat farming is a viable business and as a way of empowering the farmers we decided to host this seminar so that people learn about the different facets of goat farming.
There a number opportunities that lie with goat farming,” said Mr Ncube.
“There is a huge export market and that is an opportunity as well to ensure we penetrate it.
With good breeding, one goat can cost money equivalent to a cow so that says a lot about goat farming.”
Mr Ngwenya said many farmers were excited about goat production.
“There has been a buzz in the goat circles, everyone is excited about goats, there is so much money in goats but there are so many people who want to find out where exactly is the money and how they can enter into the goat industry,” he said.
Mr Ngwenya said the seminar targeted established and aspiring goat farmers to share lessons from practical experiences so that they can realise commercial value from goat projects.
“I am very excited about the training and the turn up, so many people came for the programme and I am very excited for the support from other stakeholders for example, we had SeedCo that was sharing knowledge on fodder production because we are not just looking at rearing these goats out on the veld,” said Mr Ngwenya.
“Farming methods are evolving over time and so many farmers are now getting into fodder crop production so that the goats are sustained in good health right through the calendar year.
We don’t have to just depend on the rainy season for sound nutrition for our goats.
“We also had from the farmers union, people to facilitate further more about fodder crop production, agro consultancy business stakeholders to address critical matters to contribute to a successful goat farming project.”
Mr Sikhosana said the seminar was meant to steer growth of the goat industry through strengthening relations and sharing ideas.
“We have had a lot of people coming for consultation so we decided why not sit down under one seminar so that we share ideas on goat farming.
It is not about us presenting but farmers as well highlighting their challenges and seeing how best we can help each other grow.
We also want farmers to work together so that we can strengthen the goat industry that we are growing in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Sikhosana.
“Right now, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa are the biggest goat industries in Southern Africa and we would like to believe Zimbabwe can be the next country to join in the lead.
Goat meat is a very viable export meat and we believe and can play a very pivotal role in the country’s economy.”
ZimTrade Southern region manger Mr Velile Dube said his organisation was ready to assist farmers with information on steps to be taken when one wants to export.
He said they deliberately targeted the seminar so that they could establish contact with farmers at the initial stages of their production so that they grow with a vision to grow their businesses.
“Part of our mandate as an institution is to do market intelligence which seeks to establish what and where our people can export.
Amongt other countries, United Arab Emirates is the world’s greatest source market due to their religion as they don’t take beef.
As such it is key to scale up your production and gear up for the global market.
You might also need to know that there is documentation that has to be in place and we are there to help you with that,” said Mr Dube.
Export documentation relevant to goat exportation includes the Halal certificate (for UAE market), import and export permits among others.
Article Source: The Chronicle