Zim calving rate below national target

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Kudakwashe Mhundwa

HARARE – Zimbabwe should work on measures to increasing its calving rate as efforts still stand to improve the country`s national cattle herd, according to a new report from the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU).

Statistics revealed by the Union indicate that currently the country`s calving rate stands at 47 percent against a national target of 60 percent.

“The calving rates stand at 34 percent in communal areas to 52 percent in the large scale commercial farming sector,” read part of the report.

Cattle off take remain fairly low for the 2018 season. Cattle slaughters also at declined 15 percent to 243 635 cattle in 2017 from 288 707 slaughtered in 2016. These were underpinned on the outbreak of cattle diseases like foot and mouth.

“Cattle off take remains generally low at 6.4 percent against a national target of 10 percent. Total cattle slaughters in 2017 at formal abettors was down to 243 635 cattle from 288 707 in 2016.

Outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the southern parts of the country continued to be a major challenge owning to the shortage of vaccines to ensure effective control and this possibly led to the disease spreading into Mashonaland West and East provinces,”

This comes as the Competitions and Tariff Commission has recommended the formulation of a beef industry policy for the entire value chain to address a myriad of problems in the sector, chief among them price collusion.

Price manipulation by abattoirs, councils, auctioneers, high regulatory costs and recurrence of the deadly Foot and Mouth Disease were some of the factors the study recommended to be addressed through the beef industry policy.

The country’s largest beef processor and marketer, CSC, used to have an annual quota of beef exports to the European Union of 9 100 tonnes and it last exported beef in 2007. The parastatal fell on hard times from 2000 owing to a myriad of challenges, among them, inadequate working capital, cattle diseases, decline in the commercial herd, huge foreign debt, high staff turnover and an old transport fleet.

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