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Roadrunners population up 161%

by Staff reporter
08 Sep 2020 at 06:31hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE has nearly 60 million free-range birds (roadrunners) , a 161% increase compared to the same period in 2015, Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Association (ZFRPA) has said.

In a statement marking its fifth anniversary, the association revealed that free-range poultry farming had grown significantly in the country, registering a growth of 161% as of this month.

In September 2015 when the association was formed, there were about 23 million roadrunners, ZFRPA said.

Since then, the association has managed to achieve key milestones such as increasing the population of birds, giving birth to a number of small to medium free-range chicken companies, among others.

"There were only two backyard hatchery facilities for free-range chickens. As of September 2020, we have over 1 300 active hatchery facilities throughout the country for roadrunners," it said.

ZFRPA has also given birth to over 30 small-to medium free-range chicken companies over the past five years, creating employment for over 17 000 people in the free-range poultry value chain.

"An average of 150 000 day-old chicks (free-range chickens) are now being produced weekly. Previously, free-range day-old chick production was not recorded," it said.

The association said millions of rural Zimbabwean women had found free-range poultry farming to be a lucrative business.

Through ZFRPA's awareness and education activities, there is increased participation of diverse Zimbabweans in free-range poultry production as well as increased demand for free-range poultry products by health conscious consumers locally.

It said many development partners and stakeholders had embraced free-range chicken production as a drought-busting project.

"Financial institutions have also seen the viability of commercialisation of free-range chickens and are now willing to assist in the development of this important value chain," ZFRPA said.

It also revealed that the Zimbabwean retail and hospitality sectors had been very supportive, which has seen free-range chicken products visibility in main retail shops and hospitality facilities in the country for the first time.

ZFRPA has worked with different feed manufacturers in research and development of free-range and quail feed, it said.

"As part of the Standards Association of Zimbabwe technical committee, considerable progress has been made in the production of free-range poultry and product standards starting with the Zimbabwe free-range poultry production code of practice which guides actors along the free-range poultry value chain as well as open export opportunities," it said.

ZFRPA has also helped free-range poultry farmers get discounts from inputs suppliers.

The association has been advocating for the rights of free-range chicken farmers.

ZFRPA is now a member of the Livestock and Meat Advisory Council and has full support of the government through the Lands Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement ministry, especially the Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services.

Currently, the association has over 3 000 registered members.

"We look forward to making free-range poultry a staple dish in Zimbabwean cuisine and a major foreign currency earner through export of quality freerange poultry products," it said.

Source - newsday