by Innocent Mujeri
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement through its Department of Agriculture Education and Farmers’ Training is set to train farmers who benefitted from a piggery scheme under the Presidential Livestock Inputs Support Programme launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in May this year.
The training is meant to maximise production.
The training program, which is targeting Agriculture Extension workers and beneficiaries of the piggery scheme, will start on 1 July 2020 at Chaminuka Training Centre in Mashonaland Central and end on 17 July 2020 in Mashonaland East Province.
In an interview with this publication, the Deputy Director in the Department of Agriculture Education and Farmers’ Training in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Mr Francis Vengai said the training program was meant to equip farmers with expert knowledge on the rearing of pigs.
“The training program is meant to equip beneficiaries of the piggery scheme and other farmers on the best methods of keeping pigs for commercial purposes. Gone are the days when farmers would be given either chicks or piglets without the knowledge of keeping them. This training will therefore reduce the mortality rate of the piglets as farmers would be best equipped to take good care of the pigs,” said Vengai.
He further revealed that to date, an initial 10 000 weaners had been donated by Government with the support of the largest private pig producer, Triple C Private Limited, a subsidiary of Innscor’s Colcolm pork subsidiary, to various beneficiaries such as agricultural colleges, research institutions, security services’ farms, women and youths among others.
“All provinces have received some piglets to kick start the project. These piglets are a special breed that quickly respond to proper feeding and proper accommodation, hence the need to train farmers so that they can maximize production,” added Vengai.
Vengai also said the piggery scheme was meant to ensure food security in the country and reduce the importation of pork and pork related products from outside the country, thereby reducing the country’s import bill.
“The programme is aimed at boosting food and nutrition security and contributes to the growth of the economy. The scheme will also position Zimbabwe as one of the leading pig producers in the region. Under the scheme, an individual gets two sows and a boar on an interest-free loan. The pigs will be passed on after the first litter to the next approved farmers,” said Vengai.
In a separate interview with this publication, the Chief Programs Coordinator Youth Desk in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Mr Nickros Kajengo said agriculture had become a million-dollar project that should be taken seriously.
Kajengo further said that President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030 of attaining an upper middle economy could only be achieved when agricultural production at farms had been increased as the country’s economy is backed by agriculture.
On the training of farmers who benefitted from the Presidential piggery scheme, Kajengo said farmers would be trained on issues such as feeding and management of pigs, breeding and reproduction, financial literacy, records management, budgeting as well as piggery health and diseases among other lessons.
Kajengo also said the piggery scheme would economically empower beneficiaries considering that a well-fed sow will produce at least 10 piglets from each pregnancy and may have two litters each year.
Kajengo revealed that various individuals and organizations had chipped in to support the piggery scheme by availing financial and other material resources.
Empower Bank and the Zimbabwe Women's Microfinance Bank are some of the financial institutions that are supporting the piggery scheme with financial resources by availing loans to beneficiaries so that they can buy feeds.
Individuals such as one Susan Muza of Mashonaland East and Provincial Ministers such as Minister Apollonia Muzverengi and Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba have also promised to assist with resources for the training programs to be a success.
President Mnangagwa launched the piggery scheme in May this year and various stakeholders have vowed to chip in and assist with resources for the program to be a success.
During the same launch, Minister Perence Shiri said that Government would actively support and develop the livestock subsector in its entirety so as to improve viability of livestock farming.
Minister Shiri further said Government was encouraging farmers to intensify production and exploit enterprises that generate high incomes from a limited space.