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Monday, 29 May 2017

Farmers Sitting On $60m

Do Zimbabwean smallholder farmers know that they are sitting on a potential $60 million earnings per annum from beef exports? That money can be realised through adding value to livestock production. Scholar Blasio Mavedzenge and his research colleagues Ian Scoones, Felix Murimbarimba and others in 2010 noted that with the right environment, incentives and support structures, smallholder farmers can be used to launch the rehabilitation of commercial beef production. In their research paper, "Changes in the Livestock Sector in Zimbabwe Following Land Reform: The Case of Masvingo Province", Mavedzenge and his colleagues argue that this would benefit all parties by improving the off-take of beef production in Zimbabwe. They further argue that this would also begin the process of restoring Zimbabwe's beef exports with the prospect of earning US$50-US$60 million per year. There was a time, they noted, after 1985, when the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific preferential trade agreement came into force. Then Zimbabwe had access to the lucrative EU market with a quota agreement of 9 200 tonnes per year, according to the paper. "In 1985, Zimbabwe, alongside Botswana, Namibia, and Swaziland (all members of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group), negotiated a deal with the European Union for export of boneless beef under a generous reduced tariff, preferential access arrangement. "Zimbabwe's annual quota generated around US$50 million of much-need foreign exchange each year. "During the 1980s and through the 1990s beef exports grew, with 4,397 tonnes exported to the EU in 1986 and 9,184 tonnes in 2000, peaking at 14,503 tonnes in 1993, up from a minimum level of 715 tonnes following the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak of 1989 and the resulting 18 month ban," the paper noted. It is on this basis that efforts have been trained on unlocking this value in the beef industry with Government and its partners working on empowering farmers who have ventured into livestock production. One of the initiatives is the Nurture Education Trust. Established in 2016, the programme aims at assisting smallholder farmers to commercialise their cattle production.

Source: Allafrica