A Zimbabwean eats six times less meat than a South African counterpart presenting an opportunity for the local agriculture value chain to up the tempo as the economy eyes an upper middle income status by 2030, an agriculture expert has said.
Livestock Meat and Advisory Council director Reneth Mano said the consumption of protein has been reduced as incomes decrease.
“A Zimbabwean is consuming 6kg of beef, 11 kg of poultry and 3kg of others. In total 20kg of meat per person per year. In South Africa, poultry alone consume 42kg. In total South Africa consumes 120kg of meat per person per year,” Mano said at the second anniversary of the Zimbabwe Commercial Rabbit Breeders Association (ZICORBA).
He said at 20kg per person per year, Zimbabwe is a lower middle income economy and must move with speed to join South Africa as an upper middle income economy.
“So when our President [Emmerson Mnangagwa] says we would want to transform the economy into an upper middle income country by 2030 we in the livestock and agriculture sector must translate that vision into what it will mean in terms of what it is that we see on our tables,” Mano said.
He said becoming an upper middle income economy means an average family in Zimbabwe should have no less than 120kg of meat and 40 litres of milk.
“Hopefully all the 120kg of meat will be coming from within Zimbabwean borders, farmed by Zimbabweans, processed by Zimbabwean companies for consumption by Zimbabwean families. That is how we transition from a lower middle income country to an upper middle income country supported by a dynamic, innovative, business oriented agricultural sector,” Mano said.
He said ZICORBA has shown that it is doable and rabbit meat is now available in supermarkets, hotels and catering businesses.
The agriculture expert said the tough economic environment has seen Zimbabweans without a diversified protein eating habits.
“How many of us are still able to eat chicken on Monday, beef on Tuesday, dairy milk on Wednesday, goat on Thursday, mutton on Friday, rabbit meat on Saturday and fish on Sunday then you start again. How many of us can have that balanced diet, diversified eating habits where we are eating all our value chain?”