ZIMBABWE – The European Union has injected £7.3m (US$8m) into Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector to boost pig and goat farming in the country aimed to improve production and market competitiveness.

Pig Producers Association of Zimbabwe (PPAZ) chairman Mr George Mudanga said the funds were primed to support 56 000 piggery farmers and 800 000 farmers in goat production by 2023.

The programme is part of the Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme (ZAGP), which is aimed at improving food security.

It targets farmers countrywide under the auspices of Action Aid Zimbabwe, a non-governmental organisation committed to improving livestock production in Zimbabwe.

Action Aid team leader for the ZAGP Mr Newton Chari said the project sought to capacitate farmers through improving the agribusiness environment.

“The pork value chain is aimed at providing pork for markets in Bulawayo and Harare and we have created production corridors in Matabeleland North and South for Bulawayo and Mashonaland East and West (provinces) for the Harare market,” said Mr Chari.

All projects are being done with guidance from the Government to ensure that the programme conforms with national policies.

“I can confirm the reception of £7.3m (US$8m) from the EU for the purpose of improving meat production and other products from livestock. Right now, activities are underway countrywide,” said Mr Mudanga.

Farmer registration had been done and a verification exercise is currently on-going.

Mr Mudanga also revealed plans of construction of an abattoir in Selous, Mashonaland West Province were afoot which will also be used for slaughtering the pigs and goats. More abattoirs are set to be constructed in all provinces.

Recently, the government of Zimbabwe and the European Union have officially launched the £10 million (US$11m) Zimbabwe Economic Partnership Agreement Support Project (ZEPA) that is expected to boost small to medium scale enterprises.

The objective of the project is to enhance Zimbabwe’s integration into the regional and international trading system through reforming and streamlining policy, regulatory and institutional frameworks in order to incentivise production and trade.