HARARE, – Zimbabwe’s livestock industry could be set for revival following the completion of a long-awaited draft policy, agriculture junior minister responsible for livestock Paddy Zhanda said on Thursday.
The policy – first of its kind in the country – is expected to protect cattle owners from being short-changed by private abattoirs as well as reduce statutory charges in trading.
Zhanda told journalists during a tour of Bellevue abattoir and butcheries on Thursday that the policy was almost complete after wide consultations.
“It is through this policy that Livestock industry issues will be more focused and addressed accordingly,” he said.
The junior minister said government was currently reviewing the beef carcass and classification grading system.
“The old system of measuring using the fleshing index prejudiced smaller breeds like the Mashona, Tuli and Nkone. This will soon be a thing of the past as the new grading system will cater for all breeds equally,” said Zhanda.
He added that the new policy, which will be reviewed after five years, will also set a platform to increase the national calving rate which he said was below regional averages.
Official data shows that Zimbabwe has a national cattle herd of 5,3 million down from nearly six million cattle in 1996.
The policy will also look at problems affecting animal health and production provisions as well as coming up with measures to curb diseases.
It is expected to assist the majority of rural farmers to positively exploit their animals particularly cattle, sheep and goats.
The European Union last year unveiled a seven million Euro facility to help increase household food, income and nutrition security through commercialisation of an integrated and sustainable smallholder livestock sector.