Livestock remains the bedrock of the economy of Matabeleland South Province and as such government has deliberately injected resources to capacitate farmers who are in the process of commercialising ranching.
The livestock economy, if fully developed can transform the lives of farmers especially those in the semi arid regions like the Matabeleland Provinces and parts of Midlands and Masvingo.
The sector whose value chains include the meat and leather value chain can have a huge impact on the economy with the potential to generate foreign currency through exports.
Farmers in Matabeleland South through the command livestock programme have benefited from the second batch of heifers as 1 660 of them were handed over to 151 farmers being part of the consignment of the ones procured using the initial $5 million allocated to the province for the rebuilding of the national herd.
Officiating at the handover of the animals President Emmerson Mnangagwa said government is keen to engage farmers in Matabeleland South to build their economy which is anchored on ranching, adding that there is need for farmers to transform the quality of breeds of their animals and provide the market with quality meat which fetches the best price on the market.
The President outlined that the livestock programme has been supported by the private sector which is responding to government’s Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, testifying a show of confidence in the new leadership.
Chief Masendu who spoke on behalf of the traditional leaders said they are happy with the quality of heifers and challenged the beneficiaries to improve the standard of breeding for the benefit of the nation.
The support by government comes at a time when livestock farmers through the Livestock Farmers Union are in the process of commercialising the ranching sector through the improvement of breeds, sound management skills and improved marketing skills.