Feeds / Forages / Goats / Markets / Small Ruminants / Southern Africa / Value Chains / Zimbabwe

Small stock connections lead to better business for goat keepers in Zimbabwe

Goats 1

Feed is scarce for livestock in the dry season, farmers can lose up to 30% of their herds in these three months (photo on Flickr by ICRISAT/Swathi Sridharan).

Willie Dar, director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), highlights the success of taking a ‘value chain’ approach to improving goat production and marketing by small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe.

‘. . . [H]ow does . . .  innovation come about? One exciting example is the transformation of goat marketing underway now in southwestern Zimbabwe. We and our partners — SNV, Organization of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and officials in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development — thought that if the value-chain interest groups put their heads together, they could improve the system for everyone concerned. In addition to goat keepers, those interest groups include buyers, processors, government agencies that provide livestock health services, and input suppliers. In development parlance, this type of multi-stakeholder association has come to be known as an “innovation platform”. . . .

Gwanda 12

Clinching the deal: Cash changes hands at the end of a sale (photo on Flickr by ICRISAT/Swathi Sridharan).

‘As a result of all these innovations, the prices received by smallholder goat sellers – at least a third of whom are women — have approximately doubled over the last five years, to about US$50 per goat. They find livestock much more profitable than crops, and see livestock-raising as their ticket to prosperity.

CPWF exchange visit 9

ICRISAT scientist Patricia Masikati talks about using mucuna as livestock feed to help animals survive the dry season (photo on Flickr by ICRISAT/Swathi Sridharan).

‘The great thing about innovation platforms is that they keep right on innovating, as long as the capacities for innovation are nurtured and strengthened. This is where we and other supportive organizations can play a role.

An innovation platform isn’t yet another brick-walled institution. It is about connecting people across institutions to share ideas and innovate a future that extends beyond ‘business as usual’. . . .

Read the whole article at ICRISAT’s Director General’s Blog: Innovate to include, 19 Mar 2013.

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