Presidential rural poultry scheme launched in Midlands

By Tafara Chikumira

MORE than 2 500 households in the Midlands Province are expected to benefit from the first batch of the Presidential Poultry Project, which was launched in Chiwundura Constituency this week.

The project, which will see an average of 500 farmers benefitting in each ward, has seen beneficiaries looking forward to what is set to be accrued from the life changing experience.

“The chickens that I have just received are going to sustain me and my family if I keep them well. I also want to thank the President who considered that as I live, I need to have a good diet and to also be able to do what my hands can and for that may God bless him,” said a beneficiary.

“This is a clear sign that the President always thinks of us and it is my prayer that God will help him to always have such a vision about his people. I urge other farmers like me who benefited today to ensure that the chickens become a boost to their sources of income as this is only a seed,” said another.

Another beneficiary said, “On behalf of the Gweru peri l-urban farmers, we are elated by this programme where urban farmers are also being incorporated. This is a seed which we will not eat, but it is for our own boost as urban farmers and in two years’ time we will be breeding as Gweru peri-urban farmers.”

Speaking during the launch, Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Larry Mavima ohighlighted that the initiative is a huge boost to marginalised communities.

“Poultry is the most abundant livestock species in the Midlands Province. More than 90% of farmers keep poultry for eggs and meat with these being the highest source of protein. This project is a game changer and a resilience building livelihood activity and I applaud the local Chief Chiwundura for allowing it to take place in his jurisdiction. In this regard, I urge all participants to embrace the program which has the potential to generate income, improve food nutrition and security in line with Vision 2030,” he said.

Midlands Acting Provincial Director of ARDA Mrs Madeline Magwenzi said, “We have 25 000 chickens today which are meant to be distributed among five wards in the Gweru district and then 455 000 chickens will then come to complete the number which is for the first part of the program after its launch. We are looking to increase this number as the government targets to attain its vision of having each farmer being self-sufficient by 2030.”

The launch of the Presidential Rural Poultry Scheme is in line with the government’s Agricultural Revival Strategy which seeks to enhance rural development in line with the government’s vision of becoming an upper middle income society by 2030.