Goat Commercialization to Break the Poverty Cycle
Over 62% of the Zimbabwe land mass is arid to semi-arid with less than 500 millimeters of rain annually. In these areas is where a larger portion of the Zimbabwean rural population lives. Unfortunately there are very few agricultural options available to increase economic activities in these areas because of the climatic conditions. These areas are characterized by extreme poverty when compared with areas in high rainfall areas of Zimbabwe where people can grow maize, soy beans and even rare chicken.
Addressing food insecurity and poverty in these marginal ecosystems requires us to focus on agricultural projects that dovetail with the prevailing climatic conditions.
A goat is a prolific animal that thrives in these marginal ecosystems yet no effort has been put to commercializing this animal in Zimbabwe. Most goat keepers are subsistence farmers yet there is potential for cash inflows into these rural areas had the goat been commercialised. Poverty and hunger will be significantly reduced in these areas of Zimbabwe if we commercialise the goat. Already people in these areas keep goats for subsistence purposes. goats are not alien to them. All that is needed is to commercialise goat production so that people in these community begin to see goat as serious business that can change their life styles addressing poverty and hunger. Its not enough to help people keep goats without engineering the whole value chain business model controlled by the farmers themselves to protect their interest up the entire value chain.
The Commercialisation process involve the following processes;
- Engineering the entire value chain: Currently there is no formal goat marketing channels in Zimbabwe. There is a proliferation of speculative and predatory middlemen who buy goats at ridiculously low prices from producers and sell these goats on the road sides at very high prices. The goat farmers are literally exploited. The farmers must create a value chain business in which they have control of processes and pricing. Farmers will have stake in production, value addition and distribution. Farmers will own goats. In partnership with friendly capital such as Joint Ventures, they will own stake in the goat abattoirs, butcheries and food outlets. In this value chain business model, real income will begin to trickle down to these remote areas improving livelihoods in the process.
- Upgrading the Goat: To fully commercialise we should upgrade the Zimbabwean goat
in both quality and quantity. Quality: The Matebele Goat and the Mashona Goat
take long to reach slaughter weight of about 20kg carcass weight. The bone to
meat ratio needs to be improved. To achieve this commercialisation goal, we
need to cross the Matebele and Mashona females with Boer and Kalahari Red
bucks. Quantity: There is need to increase the breeding
goat population in order to sustain harvesting of slaughter stock. As a minimum every participating farmer should have at least 1 buck and 50 females, or at least in the process of achieving this minimum commercialisation threshold.
- Training of Farmers: This
being a unique business model seeking to bring farmers out of the primary
production cage to pursuing value up the value chain, there is need to prepare
them regarding their obligations and expectations. The farmers should
participate in strategy formulation in order to build loyalty on the value
chain business model which requires significant sacrifice at the beginning with
huge rewards as time goes on.
- Goat Production: Register at least 5000 goat farmers, who meet
the minimum commercialisation threshold of 50 female goats. Total estimate
breeding females is 250 000 females. With a kidding rate of 1.5 kids per doe
per annum, the project will raise 375 000 kids per year. Allowing 5% mortality,
356 250 kids will mature. Half the kids are expected to be females. They are
not going to be slaughtered but will be kept as breeding stock. Approximately
178 000 kids will be slaughtered
- Goat Abattoir: Secure a strategic partner to build an abattoir
either as a Build Operate and Transfer [BOT] or a share Joint Venture [JV]. The
strategic partner shall provide seed money to pay for goats tendered for
slaughter timely to farmers. Contract participating farmers on a quota basis
to supply slaughter stock to the abattoir.The abattoir will also slaughter other clean
meats such as free-ranch-chicken and Turkey. The vision is to have three abattoirs
strategically located in Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo within 5 years. Spreading
abattoirs ensures that live goats are not transported long distances which will
- Meat outlets: Run at least 50 butcheries on rented premises in
high velocity urban markets. Run at least 10 food outlets or food courts in
key urban settings. These outlets are designed to showcase both domestic and
exotic goat meat dishes under one roof for the discerning goat meat clients. Establish goat meat wholesale shop for institutional
consumers such as schools, hotels and uniformed institutions.
- Tannery: Skins of slaughtered goats from all the
abattoirs should be tanned for domestic and export markets.
Summary of the Commercialisation Process
- Establish the value chain business structure registering farmers as they qualify and assisting some to qualify.
- Build farmer capacities by training them, improving goat quality and quantity
- Build an abattoir and rent meat outlets
- Start slaughtering goats from communities
NOTE: Project was started in 2013 with a loose arrangement encouraging farmers to upgrade their goats and training on how a value chain business model operates. There has been some progress in upgrading the goats as a significant number of farmers now has a (1:50) goat unit as a minimum. However, due to limited outreach resources we were unable to reach out to the more deserving areas with our training. We have resorted to relying on WhatsApp for communication and attending to farmers' challenges. Unfortunately, the deserving remote areas do not have WhatsApp.
The project has various stages;
- Project Model Conceptualization: Done
- Business Plan: Done
- Training: Partly Done
- Goat Improvement: In Progress, more work needs to be done
- Abattoir: Not done. Looking for strategic partner
- Meat Outlets: Not Done
- Tannery: Not Done, will be important once the value chain is functional