Welcome to Issue 28 of ZAGP News, the newsletter for the European Union-funded Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP).
In this issue, we focus on the ZAGP initiatives to reduce the cost of feeds for livestock producers. Feed is the largest single cost item for livestock and poultry production, accounting for 60%–70% of the total cost. These costs are largely absorbed by the producers, often with significant financial loss and ultimately leading to higher product prices.
Additionally, producers are unable to purchase quality feed during the long dry winter period when natural pasture and rangeland are depleted. The feed is too expensive due to the high maize and soya prices and farmers do not have information on the economic benefits of high quality supplementary feed.
ZAGP is working on a range of interventions to tackle the cost of feed to ensure increased profitability, production and productivity. This issue gives a highlight of the activities being undertaken such as promoting on-farm production of fodder crops such Lucerne, Velvet Beans, Lab lab, sorghum, Bana Grass among others. Beyond production, these initiatives also focus on the processing of feed to reduce reliance on bought-in feeds.
Other key activities across the livestock value-chains and support projects include:
- Investments in fodder and feed production equipment by producers and feed entrepreneurs through matching grants and smart subsidies.
- Bulk procurement of feeds through arrangements with private sector partners.
- Chemical evaluation of feed ingredients.
- Feed trials to determine the efficacy of feeds made using alternative and cheaper raw materials to those normally used by commercial companies.
- Building the capacity of key government regulatory authorities for testing of quality and safety of animal feed enhanced.
In this issue, we also introduce a Policy Monitor section, where every month, we analyse the development and implementation of key policy issues affecting the performance of the livestock value-chains. This will allow the programme to identify potential gaps and outline areas for improvement.