Zim’s Beef Herd Recovers From Recent Droughts

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By Alois Vinga

ZIMBABWE’s beef herd has registered significant increases from the drought effects experienced in recent years due to availability of stock feed and grazing pastures.

Latest statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) reveal the performance of the cattle industry, measured from formal sector slaughters, had improved significantly.

Formal sector cattle slaughters stood at 79 446 head in the third quarter of 2021, an increase of 22,34% from 64 940 head slaughtered in the same quarter in 2020. Cumulatively, 215 074 cattle were slaughtered up to September 2021, up from 161 495 cattle that were slaughtered in 2020.

“The increase in the number of cattle slaughtered was also indicative of the recovery of the national beef herd from the effects of droughts and high disease incidence, which occurred in the previous two seasons,” the central bank said.

The central bank said this was in line with improved offtake, supported by the availability of stock feed, grazing pastures and water.

In addition, the relatively relaxed Covid-19 lockdown measures resulted in higher economic activity, leading to greater consumption of livestock related products.

Pig slaughters have also increased by 20,1% to 50 434 in the third quarter of 2021, from 42 012 in the quarter in 2020. Cumulative pig slaughters stood at 143 005 in 2021, up by 7%, from 133 128 over the same period in 2020.

and strengthened the local currency have also spurred the sector.

At its peak, Zimbabwe’s beef cattle herd was 1,4 million and raked in US$50 million annually from exports to the lucrative European market, particularly the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. For most beef-producing provinces of Zimbabwe, commercial beef sales accounted for about 80% of income.