Livestock production, in general, is an extremely active agricultural segment in Zimbabwe. The segment is broad and consists of several possible niches. One of those niches is small livestock production – which does branch out into other niches. “Small” in small livestock production simply denotes a small size in stature. Thus in this article, I will explore examples of small livestock that you can dwell on. They are in no particular order but they are all worthy vocations. I will do brief overviews for each niche to inform your comparative analysis.
This is no doubt at the apex when it comes to small livestock production in Zimbabwe. The mere fact that day-old chick shortages are typical shows how highly sought after they are. Usually ‘poultry’ is chicken production in the minds of many yet it is one element of it. There is also small livestock under this banner such as ducks, turkey, and quail, just to mention a few. Chicken production seems an easier fit for many would-be farmers because of the widespread availability of service providers, existing farmers, and so on. The other elements, I mentioned prior, are not so commonly practised that people tend to avoid them. I, however, believe they wield the capacity to become the source of exclusive and premium meat.
Then we have pig production; more and more people are venturing into this niche. In fact, whenever people ask me about the best small livestock production choice I mention pig production. In my opinion, it is either poultry or piggery that I mention first. One of the things I love about pig production is the short turnaround period coupled with pigs’ birth rates. The basic characteristics of a pig make it apparent why rearing them is lucrative.
A sow (i.e. female pig) gives birth at most twice in a year. On average, at least 10 piglets can be successfully weaned from one birth. Supposing you have just 2 sows by the end of the year you will have at least 40 more pigs. With just one bow (i.e. male pig) and 2 sows that is what you can attain in just one year. The beautiful this also is that you have a couple of options regarding how to make money. You can either sell meat, fully grown pigs, piglets, or weaners. Existing pig farmers tend to lament that feeding pigs is considerably costly especially when using commercial feeds. Thus you must be prepared to part with some money.
Yet another worthy one is goat farming – an area many people are getting into. The greatest attribute of goats is their hardy nature which translates into several benefits. Less money can be spent on taking care of goats since they can forage for food. Their hardy disposition also does away with the need for sophisticated and costly housing units. Goat meat is a hit amongst many people; in fact, it is a sought after delicacy in food outlets such as restaurants. Fully grown goats can be sold for anything ranging from US$100 upwards. You even get way better prices for high breeds such Boers.
There are several upsides of rabbit farming, starting with their small stature. This translates to inexpensive housing requirements. The turnaround period for rabbits’ reproduction is conveniently short. A rabbit is only pregnant for just a month and giving birth is imminent. One rabbit can give birth to as many as 40 offspring in a single year. The other great thing about rabbits is that you can even exclusively feed them using naturally occurring and freely available plants. Even when you incorporate commercial feeds they are not as costly.
This is a great choice to make in small livestock right now, I guarantee you that. Specifically, I want you to start tilapia fish farming. Think of it, 1000 tilapia fish can reproduce to produce 5000 fingerlings – that is awesome. You just need to set up a pond and commercial feeds are readily available from companies such as Profeeds, amongst others.
You can try out bees farming to do honey production. Honey is a highly sought after product nowadays. It is because honey wields tremendous health benefits. In this line of business, it would be strategic to amalgamate it with processing the honey to sell it commercially. There are several support structures and stimulus structures meant to promote activity in this domain in Zimbabwe.
These are 6 of what I consider to be the most profitable small livestock business ideas in Zimbabwe. Do take your time to conduct market research so that you hit the right tones. Related to these areas are products and services such as feeds, veterinary, and the like. Those can be indirect small livestock business idea focuses that are profitable.