• Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Cattle slaughters up 7,5pc amid improved herds

ByEconomic Times

Jul 18, 2023

By ETimes

In its 2023 first quarter report, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) noted that cumulative slaughters for the quarter were 87 352 head, an increase of 7,51 percent over the same period in 2022.

“Cattle slaughters at formal abattoirs surged to 87 352 head in the first quarter of 2023, a 7,51 percent increase from 81 249 head, in the corresponding period in 2022. The increased cattle offtake is in line with the growth in beef herd size in 2022,” the report read.

The ministry of agriculture’s 2023 first round crop and livestock report indicated that livestock condition was generally good for all cattle, sheep and goats’ country wide and attributed this to improved grazing and water availability.

During the quarter, the national beef cattle herd increased by 2 percent to 5 642 400, with the dairy herd growing by 11,3 percent to 53 250 over the past year. Sheep and goats increased by 3 percent to 728 245 and 15 percent to 4 865 444, respectively.

RBZ noted that the low cattle mortality was attributed to improved animal health management, especially control of tick borne diseases in hotspots, an improved dipping regime and the introduction of an intensive 5-5-4 dipping cycle.

The country’s 2020-25 livestock growth plan identifies livestock diseases as one of the key intervention points requiring urgent attention to position the livestock sector for meaningful contribution to the national development strategy.

According to the ministry of agriculture, farmers in Mashonaland East and West provinces were in a herd-rebuilding drive after being affected by theileriosis.

Cattle mortality fell from 9 percent in 2021 to 6 percent in 2022 with the emergence of major diseases causing mortalities accounting for 83 percent of deaths from sampled beef cattle owners.

The country, which lost thousands of cattle in the 2014 to 2018 period following droughts, had been struggling to restock due to the country’s precarious financial situation.

Over the years, farmers’ efforts to grow the herd have been derailed by a number of challenges such as lack of adequate funding to purchase feeds, dipping chemicals and loss of livestock to thieves.

The RBZ report added that, “Pork output grew significantly in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, as pig slaughters increased by 10,72 percent over the same period in 2023. The rise in the piggery sub sector benefited from the 8,00 percent rise in herd size in 2022.”

Agronomist Anderson Magura said, “Pig production was boosted by a US$31 million funding through the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP). The program addressed the challenges affecting pig production, with the goal of turning pig farming into a vibrant sector that contributes significantly to the country’s economy.”

The main challenges which rocked pig farming were inferior breeds, unavailability of funding, high feed and drug costs, persistent droughts, lack of management skills and insufficient extension services.

However, through the intervention of government and the private sector, the livestock department has improved and is poised to reach its targets earlier than set – Harare

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