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Beef value chain analysis in Zimbabwe

Bennett B., Figuié M., Vigne M., Chakoma C., Katic P.. 2019. s.l. : European Union; VCA4D, 234 p..

Conducted between September 2017 and April 2018, this analysis of the Zimbabwe beef value chain addressed the questions: What is the contribution of the value chain to economic growth? Is the economic growth generated by the value chain inclusive? Is the value chain socially sustainable? and, Is the value chain environmentally sustainable? The historical background for the Zimbabwe beef value chain is important as it provides context for the current situation. During the colonial and post-colonial period the key objective for the beef sector was intensive commercial farming and exploitation of market access opportunities under the Lome Convention. Following this Zimbabwe underwent a period of intensive land reform with large-scale transfer of farm land from Commercial (white) farmers to small-scale (black) farmers. Somewhere between 161,500 and 300,000 households have resettled on about 4.9 million hectares (Scoones et al, 2010). Commercial farms (white) have declined from 4,000 to about 725. However, various categories of 'new' (black) commercial farms have been developed pre-and post-land reform (11,000+ households). During this period the national disease control system failed and exports ended. Causes of this collapse include: co-habitation of buffalo and cattle; and, un-restrained movement of cattle from high-risk areas. Illegal exports and imports are also reported. Currently, Zimbabwe aims to reinstate centralised veterinary control to manage transboundary diseases. This has, so far, been unsuccessful with regular outbreaks of food-and-mouth disease occurring, including during the period of this research. A high proportion of the Zimbabwe population is poor (72.3%) and extremely poor (16.2%). Malnutrition affects 33.8% of children between 6-59 months of age. Rural Zimbabwe is poorer than urban areas by some margin (30.4% of households are extremely poor in rural areas vs 5.6% in urban areas). This drives migration and emigration. Livestock are essential for resilience and coping; cattle holding and maize yields closely correlated. Farms without livestock are the most vulnerable. Beef consumption is declining: from 13kg to 4 or 6kg per capita reflecting income changes and the availability of cheap chicken meat. Zimbabwe is a semi-arid country with 85% of the area receiving less than 800mm of rain a year. Resource endowment is high, but distribution skewed and sustainability is questioned by many. Key environmental issues include: land degradation, largely through poor land management; deforestation, through land clearance and fuel use; water scarcity, due to over extraction and urbanisation; pollution of water and air, through mining, urbanisation and intensive agriculture; biodiversity loss, through agricultural expansion and habitat loss; and, climate change and variability, resulting in higher temperatures and lower/variable rainfall.

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