By Tapiwa Machemedze
LIVESTOCK farmers have welcomed the construction of the first abattoir in the district following years of marketing constraints which saw them lose significant amounts of revenue to buyers.
While Mbire is predominantly a livestock farming area, farmers have faced marketing challenges due to the lack of an abattoir and of late, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has seen them unable to trade effectively for the past 10 months.
“As farmers, we used to go to Harare, meaning that when costs are deducted from goats, the farmer is left with nothing, but now the cost of travelling and staying in Harare is also reduced. Even middlemen won’t be able to steal from us anymore,” one of the Mbire farmers told ZBC News.
Another added, “An abattoir helps us in the sense that we can’t go far away and leave our homes, plus we will be in our area, rather than travelling far away as a woman with men, even where you sleep you’ll be staying with men.”
The Mbire Rural District Council is constructing the first abattoir in the district which will be opened next year in a bid to stem revenue losses.
“Mbire has farmers majoring in livestock. The problem is they were complaining they were selling livestock in Harare and they spent a lot of days without getting a market. So, as RDC and councillors, we saw it fit for us to construct an abattoir that will assist them especially when we slaughter livestock here, buyers will come to Mbire. We think it will add value to the value chain of livestock production and marketing. At the same time, we would want to add value to the economy where we think the district economy will definitely grow,” said Mbire RDC Administrator, Raphael Karaza.
Owing to foot and mouth disease control measures, farmers in the area are not allowed to transport live animals.
“Again, here in Mbire, some areas are not allowed to export live cows. We have about three wards in the game area where they are buffalos and buffaloes are what we call reservoirs of FMD. So, the people in those areas will have a chance to sell their animals,” said veterinary extension worker, Dengu Kadhana.
Upon completion, the abattoir will also generate employment for the youth as it will be run by the community.
The project feeds into the Crop and Livestock Innovation Centre where farmers have been trained to improve breed quality under the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund.