Promoting goat markets and technology development in semi-arid Zimbabwe for food security and income growth uri icon

abstract

  • An increasing demand for livestock products including goat meat offers small-scale farmers in semi-arid Zimbabwe opportunities for increased market participation. However, existing goat markets are largely informal, with poorly developed inputs and services. Transaction costs are high, resulting in low prices. In addition, access to market information is limited and negates informed decision-making. Also, farmers are unable to realize the full potential of their herds because of insufficient investment in management practices. Farmers use the cash from goat sales for food, education and human health. Yet, they lose up to 26% of their goat herds to mortality, attributed to dry season feed shortages, animal health and inappropriate housing. While farmers do react to market development, it is not in a consistent enough manner to realize the returns from their investments. More needs to be done to improve production, reduce transaction costs and increase market access to ensure growth within the sector. We hypothesize that improved market access will provide farmers with the incentive to invest in management technologies to enhance offtake and increase the quality of their goats. Innovation Platforms, forums that facilitate communication between farmers, market players, input and service suppliers around local production and marketing systems, were established in two locations in Zimbabwe. The stakeholders meet to identify challenges and opportunities with regards to both production and marketing and collectively identify and evaluate improvements in management technologies and markets. This new approach places technology and market development in a local context based on common interests and strong partnerships between the private and public sectors. It builds local capacity, aligns production with market demands, and improves the overall efficiency of the system, thereby increasing food security and income growth and supporting the development of sustainable impact pathways

publication date

  • 2009