The Bleak Business of Cattle Ranching in Zimbabwe

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The economy of Zimbabwe is not yet recovered from the 2008 hyper-inflation. The government of the day says it is recovering amid fears of the return of the hyperinflation. Economic sectors have shown signs of struggle as they try to recover and so is the agricultural sector.

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The agricultural sector was flourishing before the 2008 hyperinflation, with the country being called the breadbasket of Africa. After the land reform program that saw white commercials being replaced by black farmers with an economic downfall, the agricultural sector was left in a more devastating stating state.

Although the sector did well this year following heavy rains and the government’s command agricultural program, a lot is needed to be done not only by the government but also the farmers themselves to ensure that progress takes place.

There is not only need to improve in the growing of crops but in animal husbandry which includes cattle rearing. Zimbabwe’s national herd dropped from nearly six million in 1996 to 5.3 million in 2015. The government aims at increasing the national herd from 5.5 million to 5.8 million by the end of this year in a situation where Farmers have complained about not getting their value from their cattle.

Cattle for butcheries are no longer from commercial farmers but subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe.

“Only 45% of rural population own cattle and on that 45 %, 13% own at least 1 or 2 cattle,” said¬†Rutendo Nyahoda from the Division of Livestock Production and Development (DLPD)

According to Isaac Tausha, a Research Analytical Officer at the Competition and Tariff at the Zimbabwe Farmers Union farmers are now producing small animals compared to their former commercial farmers.

“Commercial farmers used to trade very huge animals,” Tausha said.

Tausha also said that the farmers are uncoordinated serve for three areas which include Mangwe. So what can farmers do?

Nyahoda said that the farmers need a business mind for the success of the cattle industry. Nyahoda said that most of the farmers are selling old overworked cattle which have lost their low value and can no longer be returned to a high value.

“There is need for resilience so that they (farmers) become prepared when disaster comes,” Nyahoda said.

It is important for farmers to ensure that they stock food for cattle so that when drought comes cattle find something to consume.

Zimbabwean farmers also need to be coordinated in order for marketing and also sharing ideas.

If Zimbabwean farmers get business minded they will start farming cattle for sell making sure that cattle are in good condition for the market.

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