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Pork producers set to benefit from ActionAid pork value chain empowerment project

A Pig Industry Board worker cleaning one of the pigsties

Players in the pig industry are set to benefit from the Value Chain Alliance for Livestock Upgrading and Empowerment (VALUE) project, a programme under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme aimed at enhancing production, productivity, access to viable markets and improve breeds. ActionAid Zimbabwe is leading a consortium which includes Mercy Corps, Braford Enterprise, Shamiso Farm and Pig Industry Board, specifically for the Pork Value Chain. The VALUE project is being funded by the European Union with support from the Government of Zimbabwe.

In total 56 000 pig farmers will benefit from the project nationwide.

The initiative comes against the backdrop of critical challenges affecting pig producers which include use of inferior breeds, unavailability of funding, high feed and drug costs, persistent droughts, high cost of compliance, lack of skills, insufficient extension services and policy bottlenecks. The project is designed to address these bottlenecks.

One of the ways the VALUE project will seek to contribute to the transformation of the pig industry is the establishment of Pork Production Business Syndicates (PPBS) in Mashonaland East and Mashonaland West in partnership with the Pig Industry Board (PIB) and the Pig Producers’ Association of Zimbabwe (PPAZ). These syndicates, which will establish Business Management Units (BMUs), will be tasked with driving the back and forward logistics, business elements and growth of the project in the two provinces.

The idea behind the two Pork Production Business Syndicates is to ensure an efficient delivery of value adding business services to farmers in the pork value chain. This will be done through the establishment of business management units that will drive the commercialisation efforts of small and medium farmers especially women and youths, said Newton Chari, the VALUE Team Leader.

The VALUE project will focus on changing women and youth pig farmers’ lives. Specifically, these will be targeted to improve their capacities in the value chain through provision of small subsidies aimed at enhancing animal housing, production and productivity, training, supply of breeding stock and stock feed.

There are four levels of farmers the project will to offer support to. At the top we have the two integrators namely Braford and Shamiso farms, who will support the selection of 18 champion farmers. The champion farmers will identify forty (40) anchor farmers who will in turn train 400 small and medium farmers. We are setting up structures to provide support to 600 women and youth farmers in their bid to commercialise operations in pork value chain through provision of subsidies for infrastructure developments and weaner to finisher scheme” added Chari.

Samson Chauruka, one of the Shamiso Farm Directors and integrator under the VALUE project from Mashonaland East said “we are taking a value chain approach to this project to lower the costs of production, improve access to genetics, breeding stock and markets. We will capacitate small and medium holder farmers to move into commercial production through business management training and value addition.”

“Our role as the Mashonaland West integrator is to drive the aggregation and integration of small to medium holder pig farmers and those at commercial level to form a syndicate that will upscale production and productivity in the pork value chain,” Braford farm Managing Director, George Mudanga said.

The PIB will play a pivotal role in the identification of rightful farmers, offer training, extension services, and support through research and facilitating access to markets by the farmers.

PIB stands ready to support the VALUE project in the areas of research, animal science, training of young and women farmers on weaner-finisher piggery business operations, supply of breeding, selection of participating farmers and provision of quarantine facilities for the imported pure breed pigs, said Andrew Shonhiwa, the Director of the PIB. In total 56 000 pig farmers will benefit from the project in the two provinces.