Farmers in wildlife areas have an opportunity to restock, thanks to the Command Livestock programme which enables them to access wild animals and venture into the lucrative game farming industry that has rich pickings through safari hunting.
Wildlife management is a critical economic sector for farmers and the government through the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) is in the process of reviving the industry by availing animals for stocking and restocking.
Command Wildlife is part of the broader strategy under Command Agriculture whose aim is to support small holder farmers who were resettled as well as those where the animal population had dwindled due to natural causes and poaching activities.
The government is also seeking to afford the small holder farmers an opportunity to be a part of the lucrative hunting safari industry that was previously a preserve of the white commercial farmers.
In an interview in Beitbridge, Zimparks public relations manager, Mr Tinashe Farawo said progressive farmers, who have secured their farms and have adequate grazing land as well as dependable sources of water, qualify for the programme.
“In promoting wildlife based land reform programme we have availed an opportunity for farmers to access animals and restock in their farms so that they can benefit from this natural resource. We are availing the plains game but we first asses the farm to see whether there is security as well as the watering points and grazing before we allocate the animals,” he said.
He noted that those with good management systems will be allocated hunting quarters so that they can market them and be a part of the safari hunting industry, a sector that pays in foreign currency.