When dealing with livestock farming we are referring to animals that are raised domestically. The major purpose is to produce products that have commercial value. Some of the common products are meat, milk, hides, fibre, eggs, and so on. In Zimbabwe, farming-wise, livestock production is one of the most lucrative. Especially small livestock farming is one of the less hectic paths to take. The purpose of this article is to highlight livestock farming business ideas for your consideration here in Zimbabwe.

Cattle Farming

When we mention about livestock farming this is most likely the one to come to mind first. Well, it is a commonly practised farming initiative all across Zimbabwe – at least now. Cattle farming was for a while hanging in the balance due to an array of challenges. The most noteworthy issue was that of the foot and mouth disease that wreaked havoc starting around 2 decades ago. Anyways, the industry is back on track and you can have a piece of it.

Cattle farming entails two broad options namely, beef farming or dairy farming – you can even do both. In terms of beef farming, there are also several approaches to adopt. I would recommend pen fattening since it has a relatively shorter turnaround. Essentially you just cheaply source cattle from drought-prone areas and then you fatten them for the market.

Goat Farming

This is another common small livestock farming business in Zimbabwe. The great thing about goats is that they are hardy animals i.e. they can thrive even in the harshest of environments. They can live on foraging which can substantially lower feeding costs. Goats are less hectic to rear yet they fetch very good market prices. For instance, most goat breeds can fetch a good US$100 whereas high-end breeds such as Boer goats can fetch at least US$300. Goats also do not require much in terms of housing so you should not worry much about costs.

Poultry Farming

I know you are probably thinking this is now too saturated – trust me, not even! The poultry market is diverse and inexhaustible contrary to what you may think. There are several approaches to choose from in this domain. People tend to focus mostly on broiler chickens. There are roadrunners (or free-range chickens) too. Poultry production for meat or eggs is most prevalent. You can also go for breeding since poultry farmers are usually looking for day-old chicks. I think the demand for day-old chicks is not being adequately catered for; an opportunity to leverage on.

Fish Farming

Did you know that Zimbabwe accounts for roughly 60 per cent when it comes to combined dam water in entire Southern Africa? All this water is well suited for fish farming; so that is something interesting for you to know. Given that not every one of you is close to a dam it would mean that fish farming might not be the best fit. However, you can still practise fish farming in virtually any location. Here I am now dealing with Tilapia fish farming. Tilapia fish is the most consumed fish in Zimbabwe which is why I am mentioning it here. You will have to construct ponds so, in essence, you will create man-made water bodies for the fish.

Pig Farming

This is yet another lucrative livestock farming business to start in Zimbabwe. I always advise people to start pig farming if they are contemplating starting a livestock business. It might seem like many are now doing pig farming but truth is, we have barely scratched the surface. The whole of Zimbabwe has around 20 000 sows – that is a very low population. This spells ‘opportunity’ for you because as a nation we want to increase that number.

You can solely focus on rearing pigs for meat or you can focus on breeding. Market prices are quite encouraging if you engage in any one of those. For instance, porkers can fetch prices averaging US$3 per kilogram. If you are selling weaners prices can average US$60 – price varies though. Pigs can give birth twice in a year; a pig can give birth to 20 piglets in a year.

Rabbit Farming

Many people raise rabbits on very small scales but this can be a huge business. I knew someone, a local Zimbabwean, a few years ago who could sell 3000 rabbits annually. Rabbit meat is somewhat premium and will fetch very good prices on the market. Rabbits have a gestation period of roughly one month. One rabbit can give birth to around 40 offspring annually. Thus it is very easy to start with just a few rabbits and grow into a big business. Rabbits are not that demanding in terms of feed and housing requirements; you could say it is a low-cost business.

Stock Feed Production

There are countable stockfeed manufacturers in Zimbabwe. I like to think that there are so many gaps and loopholes to be capitalized on. I am contemplating entering this domain because of the many shortcomings I see on current stock feed suppliers. Any of the livestock farming activities I mentioned earlier require stock feeds. This means that there is a huge market that needs more players.

These are 7 tried and tested livestock farming business ideas for the Zimbabwean market. If you start any of these I am confident and can assure you that there is lots of money to be made.