Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Beef production nose-dives

Beef production nose-dives

Annual beef production, which in 2005 stood at more than 90 000 tonnes, has 
nose-dived and only 63 breeders are left, says National University of 
Science and Technology Professor Themba Dlodlo.
Ngoni Chanakira Harare

“In 2000 we also had 250 breeders with 20 000 head of cattle but in 2011 we 
only have 12 breeds and three active societies. We also have only 63 
breeders and 5 000 head of beef cattle in Zimbabwe today,” said Dlodlo, who 
is one of the country’s most prominent commercial beef producers

“We have a serious loss of 13 well-established breeds and 187 experienced 
and dedicated breeders in Zimbabwe. Our beef herd stands at a mere 15,000 
and this is selectively bred herd of pedigree cattle.”

He told a conference last week that the country needed new brains to run the 
Ministry of Agriculture. “You need mentorship to do commercial beef 
agriculture,” said Dlodlo.

“In 2000 it is estimated that there were six million beef cattle in the 
communal areas,” Dlodlo said. “In 2011 it is estimated that there are five 
million. The number is on the increase again after reaching a low of about 
four million.

“Some of the challenges facing the commercial beef cattle sector include 
lack of veld and herd management skills, lack of farming and business 
skills, as well the absence of capital for infrastructural development in 
the country.

“Hand-outs have been given annually with no evidence of progress. We need to 
rid ourselves from this dependency syndrome,” he said.

Dlodlo said the collapse of Zimbabwe’s “grading system” had resulted in a 
“free for all” for commercial and communal beef cattle producers.

“You can’t find ‘Super Beef’ or ‘Choice Beef’ anymore in local 
supermarkets,” he said.


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