GOAT producers have expressed optimism that Government’s production target of two million goats per year is achievable. Production is currently at 400 000 annually.In an interview, Farmers Economic Growth Trust national field officer Mr Vimbayi Chingodza said efforts are underway to commercialise the existing goat stock and improve quality and quantity.

“We are aiming at strengthening our Meet The Farmer Campaign to equip and empower the goat farmers with goat husbandry skills and value chain management skills. We will not only concentrate on low rainfall regions like 3,4 and 5 but attention will also be given to region 1 and 2’s A1 and communal farmers,” Chingodza said.

They have held numerous workshops in various parts of Northern regions, including Mukumbura, Rushinga, Mt Darwin and Mbire. Workshops have also been held in parts of Mashonaland West including Makonde and Hurungwe districts.

“Goat production has always been affected by the lack of insight within farmers to commercialise our own Zimbabwean goat, given that less than five percent of our local goats are in the commercial sector, proper management has to be applied,” he said. Communal goat farmers interviewed implored Government to allow farmers to access cheap vaccines and veterinary medicines from neighbouring countries.

“Government should make it easy for organised farmers and registered trustees to have access to cheap vaccines and veterinary medicines outside the country. For example, ORF vaccine is available in South Africa and is currently not being found in Zimbabwe,” said a Mhangura farmer Mr Aaron Takawira.

Other farmers bemoaned lack of short term financing from banks considering that goats breed faster. Chingodza, however, said with the advent of the Command Livestock programme his organisation hopes that all farmers can access loans to boost their current flock.

Recently, Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Minister Chief Air Marshal (Retired) Perrance Shiri said Government will provide the farmers access to loans with three to five-year tenure at modest all-inclusive rates of four percent.

The Government aims at improving beef and pig slaughter stocks to 450 000 and 250 000 respectively by 2021 while nearly 100 percent increase is targeted in dairy output. Broiler chickens and table eggs production are estimated to rise through Command Livestock.