ZIMBABWE – The European Union (EU) is set to launch a US$45.04 million (€40m) four-year agricultural growth programme to improve Zimbabwe’s livestock sector.

The EU will partner with the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP) in the project to be launched on June 11, 2019, paving the way for increased livestock development in the country.

“The four-year programme is funded by the European Union and seeks to transform Zimbabwe’s livestock sector and develop a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth.

“The programme is a response to tackle these challenges through financial support from the EU, amounting €40 million,” ZAGP has revealed.

The national project will be launched at Chibero College of Agriculture in Chegutu district, Mashonaland West Province.

ZAGP said that the project will reinforce its overarching objective to contribute to the development of a diversified and efficient agriculture sector that promotes inclusive green economic growth.

According to a report by The Herald, the programme consists of five outcomes each addressing key constraints that include increased production and productivity of the livestock sector.

These will include enhancing competitiveness and better access to markets of livestock products, increased public and private investment in targeted livestock value chains and improved agricultural education systems and extension services.

The association underscores the importance of market driven systems through support services and efficient coordination in transforming the value chain.

Increasing the added value and safeguarding sustainability, are key elements for inclusive green economic growth, ZAGP highlights.

“For this to take place, it is critical to facilitate the cooperation of the public and the private sector.

“While a strong and conducive regulatory framework should be developed, responsible investments should be driving productivity and competitiveness of the sector,” it added.

The programme is expected to cover Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces addressing the weaknesses and gaps in livestock value chains that have prevented the sector from increasing productivity, production, and incomes, to their maximum potential.

“Focus will be on building the capacity of farmers, service institutions, and private sector through increased investment, institutional reforms and policy alignment,” said ZAGP.

The programme has grants that have been awarded for working on different value chains and projects within Zimbabwe’s livestock sector.

These include the beef enterprise strengthening and transformation, inclusive poultry value chain, transforming Zimbabwe’s dairy value chain for the future, and the value chain alliance for livestock upgrading and empowerment.