Originally published on November 4, 2014.
From 2006-09, Kazungula and Sesheke districts in Zambia sustained droughts, floods and an epidemic of Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP) that nearly wiped out the local cattle population. Households that relied on livestock for income lost a major source of cash, which led to decreased financial and food security.
Emmanuel Kapenda chairs a goat producer group that has built a marketing center, and is now linked to one of Zambia's largest meat wholesalers, ZAMBEEF.
To restore hope to these affected communities, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) launched a three-year program to introduce goat production as a means of generating income and building resiliency in disaster-prone areas of Zambia. Led by Land O’Lakes International Development, the Building Resiliency in Southern and Western Zambia Through Community-based Livestock Production and Marketing (ZCL) project trained 964 households in best techniques for rearing and caring for goats, and showed farmers how to sell them in the marketplace to earn cash.
ZCL then provided 4,500 disease-free female breeding goats to these vulnerable households and helped them form 76 community-based Goat Production and Marketing Groups (GPMG) in the 2 districts. GPMG members can now purchase veterinary medicines and undertake animal husbandry procedures and treatments to their goats,Additionally, different fodder have been introduced and grown to provide the right nutrition for their goats. Goat owners are motivated to make these investments, as they now see how larger and healthier goats bring better market prices.
To attract interest from meat buyers, several GPMGs decided to construct five Goat Marketing Centers in both districts. ZCL provided the funds to build the centers and most of the group members contributed labor and some local material for construction. The marketing centers will enable the groups to coordinate collectively as they market to large private sector companies that are interested in purchasing goat meat. Emmanuel Kapenda is the Chairperson for the Sikaunzwe Goat Marketing Committee, which permits buyers to select goats based on their size. Showing off his center’s goat pen, Emmanuel proudly states, “Goats will be graded by size, and then will be herded into pens like this one based on their grades.”
Since the program began, goat owners have only been able to sell a few goats at a time in local markets or to other small buyers in their communities at the buyers’ price. Alternatively, they also had to transport their livestock to the buyers’ facilities at their own expense more 100 km away. Now, Marketing Committees like Emmanuel’s will start selling goats to ZAMBEEF, Zambia’s largest meat wholesaler, and to Milangu butchers in Livingstone. “ZAMBEEF and Milangu have just agreed to come to the Sikaunzwe Marketing Center to purchase twenty goats per week each,” exclaims Emmanuel. Goat owners will receive extra income from eliminating transport costs alone, save a lot of time to use for farming activities and eliminate risk to engage in activities that expose them HIV/AIDS when they travel.
Emmanuel also sees other opportunities for growth. “We think there will be other types of businesses at this marketing center. There are people who want to purchase animals for breeding stock, so people can sell goats for breeding. We also hope to add structures that will enable the sale of fodder,” said Emmanuel.
From 2011-13, more than 6,750 people, including family members, benefited from the ZCL program, which demonstrated goat rearing techniques, provided improved breed goats to trained households, and connected livestock owners to marketing groups. This initiative increased the productive assets of three-quarters of the households that participated in ZCL. Land O'Lakes also worked with communities to develop 76 Disaster Risk Reduction groups that developed plans for coping with future shocks brought on by catastrophes.