News from Zimbabwe: Exciting progress in a challenging environment
On my recent visit to Zimbabwe, I saw how the Hamara team, with the support of World Poultry Foundation, has been able to further develop their distribution network and deepen their reach into rural communities with their dual-purpose poultry (DPP) chickens. Hamara, our private sector partner in Zimbabwe, bravely kicked off an ambitious program to reach thousands of farmers and small-scale producers in rural Zimbabwe in 2021. Despite disruptions from COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, high inflation, and other economic woes, Hamara’s embrace of the APMI program has created visible results in the field.
During my visit, I met Mr. and Mrs. Dlodlo. Mrs. Dlodlo bought 200 DPP chicks last year. She raised them and sold the birds when they reached 28 days of age. She kept 18 hens for herself so her and her family would have the eggs they produced for every-day consumption. She allows them to forage around her yard throughout the day. Local small-scale producers focus on crops such as maize and sunflowers, thus these scavenging birds benefit from the leftover crop residues that are readily available after each harvest. At night, she used to keep them in the chicken house inside her yard. To prevent theft, she now keeps these hens with her overnight in her house – the eggs they produce mean that much to her.
Mrs. Dlodlo describes her experience with Hamara and DPP.
These 18 birds produce about 15 eggs a day for Mrs. Dlodlo and are making a large difference for her family’s nutrition and well-being. Her pride for the birds was palpable not just to me, but to her community: several neighbors saw the potential and bought teen birds from her.
One of her neighbors, Patricia Ntini, told us proudly, while she stood with 2 trays full of eggs, that the big eggs she keeps for her family; the remaining ones she sells.
The APMI program usually starts slowly. Buying a new product when you have limited income is risky and thus farmers are understandably hesitant. Time and again, though, we see this story unfold: it takes one person willing to experiment, and soon demand for DPP in the area grows quickly. DPP’s impressive growth and egg-laying numbers, even when forage-fed, stand on their own.
I would like to thank the Hamara team for their amazing hospitality and the good time we had together. The WPF looks forward to continuing to support their team as they continue to broaden their reach into rural communities.
Jan de Jonge
Senior Program Director for Africa