The Livestock and Meat Advisory Council (LMAC) recorded a 11% decline in beef production in the 2019 slaughtering period, the lowest since 2011, due to an unfavourable operating environment worsened by a devastating drought.
This comes as the country is facing high inflation and high prices of services accompanied by drought which is hindering beef production to increase.
In a statement accompanying the livestock Zimbabwe update, LMAC said: “Total cattle slaughters for 2019 were 236,781, a decrease of 11% on the previous year’s slaughters.”
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Livestock Department Deputy Director Munyaradzi Chimowa said the production of meat decreased in the period October to December due to drought, high prices of services and shortage of maize for stock feeds.
High prices of meat on the market have also caused low demand for meat as most of the consumers do not afford to buy meat every day as the price is beyond their reach. In October, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe said the price of meat in October was pegged at ZWL$86.93/kg and in December the price rose to ZWL$93.14/kg.
LMAC said the shortage of maize has also negatively impacted on beef production as the Grain Marketing Board is undergoing restructuring and maize stocks are critically low to supply the stock feeders.
Due to drought which has been experienced in the 2019/2020 farming season, local farmers are expecting to get low yields as a result of the long dry spell in December.
“A crop similar to last year’s soya bean harvest is expected, although private contractors have reduced their hectarage under contract due to financing constraints.
Yields are also expected to decline because of the dry period in December,” LMAC said. “Wheat and maize bran are still not available and currently, molasses is not available on the market and official reports indicate that the product will remain unavailable until the new crop, expected in May.”