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Government to launch livestock policy by year-end

The government will launch a new livestock policy by yearend which seeks to protect cattle owners from being shortchanged by private abattoirs as well as reduce statutory charges in trading, a junior minister has said.

Paddy Zhanda, the deputy minister of agriculture responsible for livestock said yesterday that underperformance of state-owned abattoir Cold Storage Commission had resulted in the proliferation of private abattoirs that have prejudiced livestock owners.

“Some of the issues that are going to be addressed by the policy would be ensuring that villagers are not shortchanged. We want to develop an auction system as opposed to the current situation where one player can just buy so that sellers get a fair price for their livestock,” Zhanda said.

“We have also expressed concern over the charges being levied on villagers by rural districts when they sell their livestock. The 10 percent charged on the value of the livestock should be lowered and it should also be used to develop the same community.”

He said the new policy, which will be reviewed after five years, will also set a platform to increase the national calving rate which he said was below regional averages.

”Zimbabwe has a national cattle herd of 5.3 million and this figure is more than that of Botswana and Namibia combined but our biggest challenge here is that we must increase our calving rate. Our calving rate is currently at 45 percent, which means we are very inefficient,” Zhanda said.

“In 1996, Zimbabwe slaughtered 780 000 cattle when we had 5.9 million cattle. Now with 5.3 million, we are slaughtering about 200 000 because some people don’t believe in selling their cattle to get their real value.”- The Source

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