Years Of Fruitless Toiling Ended By Direct Goat Meat Marketing: The Story Of Berita Siavwala

Posted on Friday, November 4, 2022

In the searing Binga heat, Berita Siavwala, a female goat farmer, with 18 adult goats, wipes her forehead, wets her index finger, and runs through her goat production records as she tries to recall information on her goat sales. She is an anchor farmer and one of the pioneers of direct meat marketing initiatives by the VALUE project. Flash showers bring a temporary relief from the heat, much to the appreciation of humans and goats alike in a fashion akin to the relief brought by direct meat marketing to small scale producers. 

Despite having plenty of goats, Binga’s goat marketing infrastructure is dominated by middlemen who buy goats at low prices ranging from USD15 to USD20. As a result, most farmers in the district do not consider goat production as a viable enterprise and resort to selling goats to meet emergency financial needs. Berita reflects on the marketing challenges she has faced in her 19-year journey in goat production. 

“I started goat production in 2003 with many goats hoping to earn a living, but it was not worth it because we sold the goats at very low prices of between USD10 to USD15 to middlemen who did not pay based on weight or size of the goats.” 

Berita’s assertion is in line with findings of the project’s 2019 Goat Value Chain scoping study which revealed that middlemen and brokers were getting about 55% of the money generated in the value chain compared to the paltry 14% for farmers, the project devised strategies to reverse this situation. After registration of goat farmers in 12 districts of operation, the project started piloting direct meat marketing (DMM) of goat meat to independent licensed butcheries in the major markets of Harare and Bulawayo. Like thousands of other farmers, 

Berita registered as a participant in the project and subsequently underwent various commercial goat production trainings. She was also an early adopter of the DMM initiative. 

“The decision to join the VALUE project has been life changing. When we were told about the DMM, I sent five of my goats to the market via this route, the goats were sold for USD230, and I received USD201 after factoring in costs such as transport, slaughter costs, animal clearance fees and association fee,” says a delighted Berita. 

Had she sold her goats through the brokers who visit her area, she would have earned less than USD80 for her five goats. The DMM route drastically improved Berita’s earning from goat sales, her five goats weighed 14.1kgs, 11.11kgs, 11.8ks, 18kgs and 22.2kgs cold dressed mass and bought for an average price of USD3 per kg. 

“This project has woken us up as goat producers in Binga, I am grateful to the local agriculture extension workers who persuaded me to join this project. As an anchor farmer I now encourage other farmers to join the project and sell goats via DMM as it is life changing,” said Berita. The project is continuing to build the capacities of the twelve district associations to identify registered, reliable, and licensed independent butcheries for consignment Stokist arrangements via the direct marketing route.

Watch Berita's video below: