ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe has embarked on its efforts to revamp the livestock sector following the government’s move to avail US$6 million livestock credit facility.

The funds will be managed by the Agribank and disbursed to livestock farmers to stimulate investments in the meat, dairy, and poultry value chains.

Agribank’s head of strategy, marketing and business development Mr Joseph Mverecha, said that the facility will provide working capital required to support the sector, reports The Herald Business

“We have a US$6 million facility provided by Government for on-lending to farmers. It is a facility particularly dedicated for the resuscitation of the livestock industry in the country,” said Mr Mverecha.

“It’s part of ongoing support to farmers as part of his Excellency (President Emmerson Mnangagwa)’s Vision 2030 of an Upper Middle-Income economy where we are saying we want to see agriculture growth to the extent of anchoring economy growth.

“Livestock is an integral part of this Vision (2030); we want Zimbabwe to reclaim her spot as a premier beef nation as we were in the 1990s when we were exporting to Europe and all over Africa.

“We also want to restore the dairy industry; we know it will take more than $6 million but it’s a step in the right direction particularly to the extent that it has both components of capex (capital expenditure) and working capital,” he added.

The government has also partnered with the private investors under an European Union-funded project dubbed as ‘Zimbabwe Agricultural Growth Programme’ that also seeks to boost growth of the livestock sector.

In a country with an annual milk demand of 120 million litres, the government is targeting to increase milk production to between 97 million and 100 million litres per annum to bridge the deficit of 45 million litres.

While opinions differ about long-term macroeconomic stability and how to get there, the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) is said to be contributing to policy discussions and integrative approaches to developing various value chains.

To boost milk production, the government is targeting to by grow the dairy herd to 30 000 animals by 2022.

Zimbabwe’s milk production grew 15% to 19.4 million litres in the first quarter of the year.