The beef and leather public and private sector players have been called upon to work together in supporting the respective value chains in an effort to promote the local industry to be able to even make a strong challenge on the international market.

Industry and Commerce Minister Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu who was speaking during an awards ceremony for business development service providers and financial counsellors from Matabeleland North Province at Lupane State University, who had completed a trainers programme in market facilitation and financial coaching under the support of the beef and leather value chain technical assistance project, described livestock production as an important and integral part of the agricultural sector.

The training project was being done through the financial assistance to the tune of $2 million from the African Development Bank with Aesa, a Brussels based Italian company being the consulting partner.

Lead consultant for Aesa, Mr Tommaso Spaini revealed that the project whose major emphasis is on value addition had been a success.

Livestock products currently produce 30 percent of the value of agricultural gross domestic product with 90 percent of the cattle in the country coming from small scale farmers.

Matabeleland North Province contributes approximately 10.9 percent of the total national cattle herd which is estimated at 5.5 million.