Another batch of 300,000 chickens under the Presidential Rural Poultry Program is ready for distribution to provinces as part of the Second Republic’s drive to alleviate poverty and increase rural incomes in line with the leave no one, no place behind policy.
Under the scheme, three million rural households will receive 10 free-range chickens over the next five years.
The Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme aims to commercialize rural poultry production and increase rural income while providing households with a rich source of protein.
Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Association (ZFRPA) secretary general, Ms Beauty Jiji, said there are more small-scale free-range poultry farmers across the country who deliver day-old chicks weekly or bring fertilized eggs for hatching.
“We have sent close to 18,000 chickens since the launch of the program in Masvingo,” she said. “We want to send another 5,000 for further distribution in the area to make it 23,000. We have barns in the field all over the country and to date we have over 300,000 centralized chickens because we get an average of 70,000 chickens a week. We get some from the hatchery and some farmers bring them here.”
Mrs. Jiří said that the distribution of chickens will be done as soon as the provincial launches are done.
ZFRPA is establishing chicks in the provinces to reduce the cost of chick distribution and ensure that each province has a distribution center.
“Farmers in the provinces will supply and we will have a team in the farms where the chickens are collected and then distributed from there,” she said.
Ms. Jiji said the program not only benefits three million rural households, but most of the farmers who supply them with eggs receive a lot of money that changes their lives.
Poultry farmers who spoke to The Herald welcomed the development and said they were making more money by supplying eggs to the Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Association at the Harare exhibition grounds.
One of the producers, Mr Arnold Mutamba from Norton, said he supplied an average of 80 crates of fertilized eggs a week to the Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme, which helped him send his daughter to university.
“Most farmers have started supplying eggs and I supply an average of 2,400 fertilized eggs per week for hatching,” he said. “The delivery of fertilized eggs helped me and my daughter is now studying law at the University of Zimbabwe.
“I have been involved in poultry production for the past three years, but now I have started supplying eggs to this organization,” she said. “Everything flows, there are no losses, I get all my money. No need to look for markets, we have a ready market. That’s gratifying.”
Mr Bernard Mudyariwa from Chegutu said poultry is a cash-generating business that does not require much effort.
“If you take it seriously, it’s a business that brings more money to the family and doesn’t require a lot of work,” he said. “No sweat on the poultry. We get more money out of it. I deliver 50 to 60 crates a week.”
In line with development that leaves no one and no place behind, the programme, while primarily targeting rural areas, will also benefit urban dwellers.
The program has also raised hopes among rural communities that they will soon become hubs for organically produced live chicken, eggs and chicken meat in the next two to three years, earning the country thousands of dollars in product exports.
Chicken breeds include Boschveld, Sasso, Kuroiler and indigenous chickens. Zimbabwe has over 50 million native chickens.
The Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme intends to provide 30 million rural chickens to three million households across the country.
Read the original article at The Herald.