Another batch of 300 000 chicks under the Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme are ready to be distributed to provinces as part of the Second Republic’s drive to alleviate poverty and boost rural incomes in line with the policy of leaving no one and no place behind.
The scheme will see three million rural households getting 10 free-range chicks each in batches over the next five years.
The Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme is set to commercialise rural poultry production and increase rural incomes while providing households with a rich source of protein.
Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Association (ZFRPA) secretary general, Mrs Beauty Jiji, said there were more smallholder free-range poultry producers across the country who were supplying day-old chicks weekly or bringing fertilised eggs for hatching.
“After the launch of the scheme in Masvingo, we sent almost 18 000 chicks,” she said. “We want to send another 5 000 for further distribution in that area to make it 23 000. On the ground we have brooders across the country and to date we have more than 300 000 going to be centralised chicks because on average we are getting 70 000 chicks per week. We get some from the hatchery and some farmers bring them here.”
Mrs Jiri said distribution of chicks will be done once provincial launches were done.
ZFRPA is setting up brooders in the provinces to lower costs for the distribution of the chicks and to ensure that each province has a distribution centre.
“Farmers around the provinces are going to supply and we are going to have a team at the brooders where chicks are taken from and then distribution is done from there,” she said.
Mrs Jiji said the scheme was not benefiting the three million rural households only, but most farmers who were supplying them with eggs were getting a lot of money that was transforming their lives.
Poultry producers who spoke to The Herald hailed the development, saying they were earning more money through supplying eggs to the Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Association at the Exhibition Park in Harare
One of the producers, Mr Arnold Mutamba of Norton, said he supplied an average of 80 crates of fertilised eggs per week towards the Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme and this helped him to send his daughter to university.
“Most farmers started supplying the eggs and I supply an average of 2 400 fertilised eggs weekly for hatching,” he said. “Supplying fertilised eggs has helped me and now my daughter is studying law at University of Zimbabwe.”
Mrs Chengetai Katsvamutima of Chitungwiza said the scheme created a ready market.
“I was in poultry production for the past three years, but now I started supplying eggs to this organisation,” she said. “Everything is flowing, no loses are encountered, l get all my money. There is no need to find markets, we have a ready market. This is pleasing.”
Mr Bernard Mudyariwa of Chegutu said poultry was a cash income business which did not require a lot of efforts.
“If taken seriously, this is a business which brings more money in the family and does not require a lot of work,” he said. “No sweat in poultry. We are getting more money from this. I supply 50 to 60 crates per week.”
In line with development that leaves no one and no place behind, the scheme, though primarily focusing on rural areas, will also benefit urbanites.
The scheme 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, with the country set to earn thousands of dollars from exports of the products
The breeds of the chickens include Boschveld, Sasso, Kuroiler, and indigenous chickens. Zimbabwe has over 50 million indigenous chickens.
The Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme intends to provide 30 million rural chickens to three million households throughout the country.