Zim free-range poultry producers eye foreign markets

HARARE – The Zimbabwean government, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Free Range Poultry Association and other stakeholders, has developed a code of good agricultural practice for the poultry sector.

The aim is to penetrate the lucrative global market by ensuring the production of high-quality poultry products that meet international standards.

The newly launched standards focus on free-range poultry production, which involves allowing animals to roam freely outdoors for at least part of the day, rather than keeping them confined in enclosures. The government believes there is a significant market for Zimbabwe’s poultry products both regionally and internationally, particularly in China, where the current demand is not being met.

The launch of the standards aligns with the global focus on food and nutrition quality, coinciding with Food Safety Day celebrations. The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development is supportive of the initiative and aims to improve the earning capacity, livelihoods, and food security of the over three million small-holder poultry producers in the country.

The government’s efforts, including the Presidential Poultry Scheme launched in 2022, are expected to positively impact around 1.8 million rural households (approximately three million producers), leading to improved income levels and empowerment.

Additionally, the Ministry is implementing a program called “peri-rural” to encourage urban residents involved in agricultural activities to relocate to rural areas, supporting the government’s objectives of rural development and prosperity outlined in the country’s national vision.

The introduction of the free-range poultry standards brings a much-needed quality assurance dimension to the poultry sector in Zimbabwe, aiming to enhance its competitiveness and market access in the global poultry industry.