The Sunday Mail
Word from the market with AMA
Vulnerability to climate change and variability is a function of adaptive capacity. Venturing into the goat farming business is not only a climate change adaptation strategy, but a cash cow, owing to the animal’s high productivity, even in harsh environments.
Ubiquitously, transitioning from subsistence and communal agricultural food systems to commercial agriculture is not cumbersome. It is just a matter of mindset re-orientation, adopting best management practices and procedures without necessarily adding any significant financial input into expanding existing inventory.
Globally, goats are primarily reared for their meat, milk and leather. Plus, or minus 35 percent of the world’s goat population is in Africa, with Ethiopia carrying 15 percent of Africa’s total population. Zimbabwe sits on a population of about 4,3 million goats, with 80 percent belonging to small-scale farmers (Goat Breeders Association of Zimbabwe).
Goats are reared across all the provinces of the country, with Manicaland being the most populous at just over a million goats and Mashonaland Central with the least, at just below 50 000 goats.
Woodlands Farm is a goat value chain specialist entity domiciled in Kwekwe, commercialising primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary goat products and related services.
The ‘Word from the Market’ column will be running a series of articles on the commercial goat value chain.
This week’s article tackles the marketing of goats locally and for export into the UAE.
The demand for goat meat, breeding and live meat goats is on the rise across the world, with the UAE being the targeted importer of chevon, with a deficit of between 300 000 to two million goats per annum and our local farmers are better positioned to take advantage of the boon. Even on the local market, the appetite for goat meat has increased as evidenced by the statistics from the livestock department. Goat meat is exported fresh, chilled or frozen.
Grades of goat meat
Just like other livestock, goat meat is graded. Here the focus is on determining the quality of the meat at the point of off-take. The grades are inferior, standard, super and choice. Over a five-year period from 2016 to 2020, a general growth of Goat Supers from 4 to 11 percent occurred.
What are the basic market requirements that farmers need to adhere to for the local and export markets?
Each market has its own requirements, and it is important for farmers to match these standards to score a market share.
Live goats and/or chevon can either be consumed locally or exported to the top 10 importing countries which are USA, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Taipei, Portugal, Italy, Canada or Korea Republic respectively.
The UAE market prefers organic super and choice grades. Meeting the grade target is dependent on the feeding regime. Smallholder farmers are motivated to join the Pfumvudza/Intwasa 5+ programme.
Consolidation for export
The export business is a volumes game, hence organised farmer consolidation is critical to meet the demand. Woodlands Farm identified export markets for which it is seeking partnerships with farmers to satisfy.
The farm says the UAE market has a firm demand of more than eight tonnes of super and/or choice grade per week at around US$7,00 per kilogramme at a weight break of between US$0,70/kg and US$1,50/kg per tonne.
Training programmes for small-scale farmers are in the pipeline that will be done by AMA in collaboration with the farm to improve the consolidation for the export initiative.
The UAE market is sensitive and recent engagements with the off-takers have revealed that the clients prefer roll-overs in contrast to spot transactions.
They are keen on the values of trust, loyalty and honesty. With the knowledge acquired, we expect farmers to furthermore produce goats with a larger CDM, achieve twinning per parity and reach target slaughter weights at young ages.
Goat mortality rate for the year 2020 was 23 percent and 36 percent for 2021. Kid deaths contributed about 75 percent to the total goat mortality. Sixty-two percent of mortality was due to diseases and 28 percent due to predation.
This desperately calls for the nation to up its ante on implementing and adapting sound commercial management practices.
Due to the poor production, which makes it almost impossible to mobilise the required volumes to match the weekly demand, both the local and export markets are still under-serviced, which offers a great opportunity for the goat farmers who decide to go commercial.
The meat market in the UAE is aggregated as follows: retail at 46 percent, food services at 43,6 percent, institutional at 9,8 percent and others at 0,6 percent (Bizmosis UAE).
On the domestic front chevon demand and consumption are increasing, even in the rural areas, but there is insufficient supply to satisfy both the low-cost urban consumers and the quality-conscious urban chain store niche markets.
Domestic formal goat markets, standing at 21 percent (19 percent regulated markets and 2 percent abattoirs) are almost non-existent in Zimbabwe. Significant volumes of live goats, goat meat and meat products are channelled through informal markets (middlemen 22 percent and open markets 55 percent).
The livestock growth plan is the blueprint for the livestock sector that seeks to catapult the overall livestock economy to 1,8 billion by 2025.
Goat farming has the potential to make significant contributions to the attainment of this milestone owing to the rise in demand for goat meat across the world.
Word from the Market is a column produced by the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) to promote market-driven production of agricultural crops. Feedback [email protected] or [email protected]. Rodney Lunga, a goat expert from Woodlands Farm Pvt Ltd, contributed to this article.