20 caregivers under the Children Tariro project visited Headlands Goat Breeders Association (HGBA) for a learning visit. The caregivers drawn 6 Wards of Mutare district. The exposure visit came at an opportune time for the caregivers who received startup kits under the PEPFAR/USAID supported and FACT Zimbabwe implemented Children Tariro Project. The visit was graced by members from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MWACSMED).
HGBA was a good choice for the caregivers to learn from because it has developed farming into a prosperous business. The association which started with just five farmers (4 males and 1 female) has grown to 76 farmers. From just three goats (2 Does and 1 Buck) in 2015, the association now boasts of over 120 goats that include the Matabele, Boer, Kalahari and local goat breeds which they now sell 45 to 46 goats every two months. Their prices range from $60 to $250 depending on the size of the goat. Through Practical Action the association has been supported to access markets, finance, extension and training services, as well as learning about financial literacy and business models. The program seeks to address constraints to productivity, marketing and the supply and demand of nutritious foods for smallholder farmers.
The association has since expanded its business prospects, to venture into poultry rearing with over 600 broilers, 100 pure roadrunners and 65 bushveld layers. They also have an incubator where they hatch eggs and sell chicks to local farmers and schools. Apart from its core livestock and rearing business, the association is now offering incubation, goat breeding and animal health training services.
After conducting interviews with some of the caregivers, below are some of the takeaways that participants received from the exchange visit.
• Financial literacy –Caregivers were taught how to properly use funds. Each farm business should cater for its expenses. For example, goat production workers get paid from goat sales instead of extracting from poultry.
• Bookkeeping –they were also taught the importance of bookkeeping. Proper record keeping assists one to know whether they are making any progress or not. Whether they are making any profit or loss. The team had an opportunity to go through HGBA records since they started in 2015 including their constitution.
• Digital Marketing – this should be taken seriously as it helps advertise the association’s work. This includes the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. HGBA have managed to publish manuals on the different processes they do. This includes the Community Seed Banking manual and Introduction to Black Soldier Fly (BSF). This also helps market HGBA work.
• Goat rearing processes – caregivers had any opportunity of learning the actual processes involved in got production, which helps increase production in no time. Different diseases include tape and roundworms as well as issues of abortion and how these can be avoided and cured.
• Inclusion of the youths – this helps the youths stay occupied and they get to learn about business at an early stage. It also gives the association sustainability because youth are the leaders of tomorrow.
• Formation of associations – there is power in numbers to achieve bigger results, thus the need to form associations. It is also easier for associations to get financial assistance using group collateral. This will also support rural industrialization, as processes that were only done in urban areas will also be done in rural areas. This will in turn curb rural to urban migration leading to the growth of the rural areas.