KWEKWE: Poultry farmers in Kwekwe yesterday hailed the government for launching an Inclusive Poultry Value Chain (IPVC) project which is set to benefit the local community.
The IPVC project is part of the European Union-funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) which is a partnership between the government and the EU.
The project is meant to tackle Zimbabwe’s livestock challenges through financial support from the EU amounting to 40 million euros, with the IPVC getting 6million euros.
Speaking after the launch of the project in Mbizo Kwekwe yesterday, Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Vangelis Peter Haritatos, said the project was set to benefit smallholder farmers, most of them women.
“I am glad that the IPVC program is also benefiting the marginalized smallholder farmers of which most of the beneficiaries are women. Statistics from the Zimbabwe Poultry Association indicated that two-thirds of all broiler meat is produced by small and medium-scale farmers,” he said.
A similar trend is also noted in egg production where independent small and medium producers contribute 60 percent of the products whilst they cater for 100 percent free-range chickens in the market.
“Notably, women constitute the bulk of the poultry products, with figures indicating that over 60 percent of the producers in poultry are women. As we are currently commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, this investment targeting smallholder poultry producers has affected or directly empowered the womenfolk and improved their economic resilience,” he said.
Deputy Minister Haritatos said the transformational Vision 2030 of achieving a prosperous and empowered upper-middle-income society by 2030 was all-inclusive with everyone expected to play a part.
“The IPVC project, among other goals, seeks to improve the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of small and medium producers in the poultry value chain, of which enhancing market access is one of the key strategies to achieve these set goals,” he said.
IPVC team leader, Joseph Matiza said the project has since assisted over 5000 small-scale to medium poultry farmers in the last 13 months.
“During the last 13 months or so that we have been in existence, we have assisted over 5 000 small-scale farmers through access to affordable chicks and feed to the tune of US$1,3million,” he said.
Matiza said the poultry project had six targets.
“The IPVC is meant to establish functional poultry business centers like the one we are witnessing today, reduce poultry production costs, improve poultry productivity, value-added business development services, awakening poultry value chains and promoting a green technology amongst others,” he said.
The Kwekwe Poultry project Centre 2300sqm piece of land which was provided by Kwekwe City Council.
Besides the open market shed and the butchery services, the project is helping producers to establish direct formal market linkages between producers and bulk takers of poultry products such as schools and colleges