Zim launches platform to address livestock feed, fodder

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By Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE has become the fifth African country to launch a Multistakeholder Platform which seeks to address the challenges faced in the livestock sector, currently being affected by shortages of feed and fodder.

The launch comes at the nick of time when the country is reeling from the effects of the El Nino-induced drought which has seen over 9 000 cattle die. Not only has the El Nino-induced drought caused the deaths of cattle but it has adversely affected the feed and fodder in Zimbabwe resulting in loss of animal body condition which affects the quality of livestock production.

Speaking at the launch hosted by the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) which is supporting Zimbabwe in the implementation of the Resilient African Feed and Fodder Systems (RAFFS), Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Davis Marapira said the formation of the MSP is a giant step towards setting the project in motion, at a time the nation is striving to build resilience in the feed and fodder sector to reduce livestock deaths due to hunger.

“The production of fodder is very critical and will reduce the cost of production,” Deputy Minister Marapira said.

The MSP chair Dr Nathaniel Makoni said various professions are actively involved in the platform including women groups such as the Zimbabwean chapter of the African Women In Animal Resources Farming and Agribusiness Network (AWARFA-N).

“The multi-stakeholder platform is now initiated to be an inclusive platform or organization that addresses squarely the feed or fodder challenges. It’s inclusive in the sense that it includes everyone of importance and the banks, the finance, the women groups like AWARFA-N, the research and the research organizations, and we are looking at the farmers, the farmer organizations, and so forth. The input suppliers are all part of it,” he said.

And as this has just started, we are looking at forming a robust organization that can last forever, because the issue of feed and fodder is just like a project that comes in and goes, but the challenge that we have is going to stay with us forever, so it requires formation of a robust organization that’s long-lasting and lasting to be very effective in mitigating our problems that come with loss of livestock when you don’t plan for feed and fodder,” Dr Makoni said.

RAFFS team lead for the RAFFS project Dr Sarah Ashanut Ossiya stated the MSP should look into opportunities where youths can get jobs in the feed and fodder sector.

“So, this MSP will also impact on increased production of more affordable, livestock sourced foods and capacity for trade, harnessing regional and continental opportunities, job creation especially for women and children and addressing in conflict between herders and crop farmers,” she said.

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