The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has invested US$2 million in a goat project to further empower pensioners.
Under the scheme — expected to be one of the country’s leading export ventures — more than 10 000 goats will be reared at the project’s main centre in Kwekwe, where an abattoir will be established.
At least 2 000 goats have already been bought. The pensioners will participate in the project as out-growers.
NSSA acting general manager Dr Charles Shava said the scheme is a joint venture that will also be run as a special purpose vehicle (SPV), dubbed the Woodlands Goat Project.
So far, some pensioners in Bindura and Gwanda have been identified for the project, which is now under the pilot phase.
“NSSA committed to investing US$2 million in the Woodlands Goat Project as capital, with US$1,05 million already disbursed.
The SPV is 80 percent owned by NSSA and 20 percent by LMVI (a local company).
The purpose of the SPV is for commercial goat production targeting local and foreign markets,” he said.
The venture is angling for markets in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran.
Activities would not be limited to rearing goats only, Dr Shava added, but will include the production of goat cheese, goat milk and related products.
“The project is vital to the national economy as it can create the much-needed employment targeting the local community, particularly the youth.
“Most of the farmers within the surrounding communities would be incorporated into the out-grower scheme to create a community ownership mentality.
“The project has the capacity for foreign currency generation because of its export orientation.”
The demand for goat meat in the Middle East and Asian markets, which is estimated at 1,5 million goats per week, remains untapped.
Zimbabwe has a total goat population of 3,5 million to four million.
“The scheme aspires to be the first agro-pole in Zimbabwe mainly in the field of goat livestock commercial production and to be the most profitable goat exporting business ever in the country,” added Dr Shava.
“To enhance the supply chain linkages, an out-grower scheme will be introduced, initially targeted at surrounding A2 farms.”
The goat scheme comes at a time when pensioners were among those worst affected by the negative
impact of Covid-19, which directly impacted pension funds and reduced their overall investments across asset classes, according to the International Finance Corporation.