THE Matabeleland South provincial launch of the Presidential Goat Scheme in Lutumba in Beitbridge District yesterday brought cheers and smiles to the local community whose livelihood revolves around livestock farming.
The programme, which was launched in Chipinge in Manicaland last month, will eventually see more than 600 000 goats being distributed to the small-scale sector.
The scheme is among a raft of measures launched by the Second Republic in crop and livestock sectors to rapidly build the output and capacity of small-scale sectors and ensure the overwhelming majority of rural households are able to enter the commercial sector.
Through rural industrialisation, Government hopes to stem rural to urban migration, which slurps growth from the countryside, transferring it to towns and cities.
Rural industrialisation, which hinges on the Second Republic’s devolution policy, involves nurturing agro-processing start-up enterprises in rural areas through financial and technological support via venture capital funding and Government agencies.
Under the Presidential Goat Scheme, 35 000 bucks and 597 000 does will be distributed in all villages.
The bucks are being assigned as three for each chief, two for each headman and one to each village head, and then the females are distributed to the villages.
The scheme is also set to benefit the elderly, women-headed families, people living with disabilities and youth-headed families as defined in the report of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee.
Chief Matibe and Chief Sitauze, the two chiefs in the district, including vulnerable members of the community received 150 goats.
Matabeleland South will first receive 45 000 goats under the scheme while the ultimate target is 100 000 with Beitbridge expected to get around 20 000 goats.
Speaking during the launch, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Davis Marapira, said the Government, through a number of initiatives being implemented by the Second Republic, is accelerating its rural industrialisation agenda in line with Vision 2030.
Deputy Minister Marapira, who is responsible for Agricultural Colleges, Water Resources, and Irrigation Development, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, said the presidential schemes have transformed rural lives and generate incomes at the household level.
“Our thrust as Government is to transform rural areas by industrialising them and providing all the basics that enables an economic development environment from the grassroots level. So, we are focusing on eight themes based on the agenda set by President Mnangagwa,” he said.
“This includes the distribution of over 550 000 goats and six million chickens to Zimbabweans as well as drilling 35 000 boreholes and creating nutrition gardens in all these villages. We are also distributing fish fingerlings and thousands of fruits trees, and agriculture inputs based on the ecological region”.
Deputy Minister Marapira said the Government is also rolling out a tick grease scheme to boost livestock production countrywide.
He said the uptake of most of presidential scheme is encouraging.
“In addition, to all these programmes, we have revived the isiphala senkosi/zunde ramambo initiative where we are supporting the traditional leaders to produce enough for themselves and those vulnerable members of the community,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.
“Under the Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme, chiefs will get inputs for five plots, headmen for three plots, village heads for two plots, while ordinary villagers will get inputs to cover one plot.”
Deputy Minister Marapira said plans are also underway to introduce cotton production in Matabeleland South province.
Chief Sitauze of Beitbridge West said the move by the Government to support livestock is testimony of the Second Republic’s commitment to its rural industrialisation agenda.
“This is a good move by our Government and we are looking forward to seeing the economic status of many people improving. We also call on investors to set up line industries such as abattoirs, leather tanning and meat canning factories at the ward centres to create market linkages and employment opportunities for locals in line with the rural industrialisation agenda,” he said.
Chief Matibe said it is critical for the community to embrace all the Government programmes that seek to turn around the economy and boost production.
He implored the local communities to collectively fight rampant cross-border stock theft, especially in areas lying along the borderline, saying it is affecting the livestock production value chain.
One of the beneficiaries Ms Lydia Mudau of Mapayi village, said: “I am happy to be witnessing this livestock production scheme where many women and people living with disabilities and those with a generally poor background are benefiting.”