It’s encouraging to note that Zimbabweans are slowly embracing free range chicken production as a serious income stream. Efforts by stakeholders in the poultry industry, and particularly the call by the Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Producers Association (ZFRPA) for smallholder farmers to commercialise indigenous poultry birds for the betterment of their lives is slowly bearing fruits.
Reports coming in indicate that farmers in Ward 20, Chimanimani, have embraced free-range poultry production, with hundreds of road-runners, turkeys, geese, ducks and guinea-fowls having been produced over the past six months.
ZFRPA is a member-based Association of like-minded free range poultry farmers whose main objective is to promote sustainable free-range poultry breeds like indigenous chickens, ducks, turkeys, guinea fowl, geese and quails on a commercial basis.
In a report by the Herald, farmers around Manicaland Province have since responded positively to the project, which is giving them good returns. Mr Kudakwashe Chitambo of Gudyanga Business Centre said the birds were cheap to rear as they also relied on food that they could pick up from the ground around the yard.
“I started the commercialisation of ducks, road runners, turkeys, quails, geese and guinea fowls in July 2016. They are cheap to keep, as they can rely on different kinds of food that they pick from the ground at an early age. I have made good money over the past few months and I have secured markets locally in supermarkets around the province. I am urging people to try this project, as it is very profitable,” he said.
Mr Chitambo now has 250 road-runners, 36 guinea fowls, 29 turkeys and 22 ducks.
“I lost 122 road runners last year and I suspect that they were poisoned,” he said. “If it was not for that, they would have been more than 500 now. I am also doing well with my guinea fowls, turkeys and ducks and I encourage farmers not only to rely on crop farming, but diversify into poultry production.” Besides poultry production and crop farming, most farmers in the area have also taken up goat and sheep farming.
The government through the command livestock programme is seeking to raise $432 million from the private sector to finance a specialised agriculture farmer support scheme. The program seeks to increase wildlife, fisheries and livestock production among other initiatives with table egg target being an increase from 50 million dozen to 70 million dozen by 2019.
This presents a huge opportunity for serious poultry farmers and I encourage you to take this opportunity and start planning how to start or increase your poultry business now.
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Article originally published by the Herald. To read the article, please click here.