The Beef Enterprise Strengthening and Transformation (BEST) Project Transforms Beef Production in the Midlands Province

A local agricultural project partnering the government of Zimbabwe, the European Union and a cluster of Non-Governmental Organisations is contribution to the transformation of the beef industry in Zimbabwe. The Beef Enterprise Strengthening and Transformation (BEST) project which is part of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) is being implemented in five provinces of Zimbabwe by World Vision in partnership with Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT), Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) and Zimbabwe Agriculture Development Trust (ZADT).

The Beef Enterprise Strengthening and Transformation (BEST) Project Transforms Beef Production in the Midlands Province
The Beef Enterprise Strengthening and Transformation (BEST) Project Transforms Beef Production in the Midlands Province

A local agricultural project partnering the government of Zimbabwe, the European Union and a cluster of Non-Governmental Organisations is contribution to the transformation of the beef industry in Zimbabwe.

The Beef Enterprise Strengthening and Transformation (BEST) project which is part of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) is being implemented in five provinces of Zimbabwe by World Vision in partnership with Welthungerhilfe (WHH), Sustainable Agriculture Technology (SAT), Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) and Zimbabwe Agriculture Development Trust (ZADT).

Its interventions are acting as a catalyst in the transformation of the country beef enterprise.

The BEST Project seeks to create a robust, competitive beef value chain that promotes enhanced trade, employment creation, food security, and inclusive green economic growth by 2023 for 25,000 small to medium as well as commercial cattle farmers.

In the Midlands province, where it is steered by Welthungerhilfe, BEST has helped farmers in the establishment of Cattle Business Centres (CBCs). These are managed by the private sector to create hubs of production, extension and marketing activities for beef farmers who will access input and output markets, financial and reproductive services, fodder production and husbandry training.

Welthungerhilfe and BEST have also helped farmers work together to adopt good animal husbandry practices and plug several value-chain challenges like market access, market intelligence and information access, transport and several input and output challenges.

Speaking to AgriSeason, the Welthungerhilfe Midlands Head of Projects, Mr. Johannes Chikarate said that WHH is working with several farmers in the province to access cattle production inputs like other cattle vaccines and dipping chemicals. This follows the collapse of the government dipping system and is also a response to the rise in many parasite induced diseases like Theileriosis, Black leg, Heart Water and Quarter Evil which are threatening the cattle industry with collapse. 

Farmers under the project also access preventive and control animal health medicines, as groups benefit from value chain agglomeration and aggregation.

Mr. Chikarate said that the prevailing economic environment is proving the most important challenge for livestock farmers as they are finding it difficult to plan on how to access cost effective animal health products and services near them without spending much on transport to service providers in nearby towns and cities.

He said his organization has helped farmers register as groups to access their required inputs from reputable who are able to provide them with products and services once there is a justifiable mass.

On the output side WHH has assisted farmers sell their animals to reputable buyers where they either sell their animals after pen fattening paid for by the aggregator or buyer or sold as is. Mr. Chikarate said that many farmers now prefer selling their animals at a premium after pen fattening and get more money less the cost of pen fattening.

The animals are brought to feeding lots for 45 days, after which the beasts are sold after gaining compensatory muscle.

WHH has helped establish five satellite business centres in each district to support both the input and the output requirements of the cattle farmers who are now pen fattening many of their animals before selling.

Creating competitive beef value chain that promotes enhanced trade, employment creation, food security, and inclusive green economic growth through the following interventions:

  1. Better functioning beef value chain for more decent jobs for farmers, youths and women
  2. Beef value chain transformation for improved revenue and profits
  3. Public Private Partnerships for accelerated and sustainable beef value chain development
  4. Embracing inclusive green economic growth for sustainable beef farming

In addition, through the Nurture Finance model, beef producers are expected to access to genetically superior heifers and bulls through live importation of cattle.

 

By Francis Bingandadi Managing Editor AgriSeason