By Anyway Yotamu
The country’s leading poultry and eggs producer, Irvine’s Zimbabwe has demonstrated their continued support and commitment to the government’s command agriculture policy by building another fully equipped chicken production house with a capacity of 2500 broilers at Ntabeni Primary School, Entumbane in Bulawayo as part of the company’s Command Livestock Agricultural partnership with government and support to the community they serve.
The chicken-house, built at a cost of ZWL2 065 640.00 will be used as a learning centre for chicken production for local people, therefore, its central location at a school place such as Ntabeni where community members can easily access.
Speaking at the official handover of the chicken house to the government’s command agriculture department, Irvine’s Broiler Executive, Martin Ndengu said, his company partnered with Command Livestock Agricultural Programme to promote the success of the government’s command agriculture and empowerment of local people.
“We have partnered Command Livestock Agricultural Programme through the provision of 12 poultry demonstration houses complete with equipment required for chicken rearing across all provinces of the country. Each house has a capacity of 2 500 broilers. Under this initiative, Irvine’s provides the first batch of chicks and necessary feed free of charge. Beneficiaries are empowered as they then sell these chickens and use proceeds to purchase the next batch. These facilities are also used as a demonstration of good chicken farming practices for the locals to see and learn,” he said.
“As Irvine’s, our objective is to make a difference in the communities we serve. For more than 63 years, we have been committed to poultry production including in marginalised rural areas in line with the government’s objective of developing a strong rural agricultural economy and the needy for public-private partnerships,” said Ndengu.
“We are aware that as the leading chicken and egg producer in the country, we carry a huge responsibility on our shoulders. Every week, we sell more than 400 thousand day-old chicks to small poultry farmers who produce more than 70% of poultry consumed in the country. Under the Command Livestock partnership, Irvine’s will build 12 poultry demonstration houses in the country’s 10 provinces. Apart from Ntabeni primary school, some of the selected centres include agricultural colleges such as Esigodini in Matebeleland South, Makoholi in Masvingo, Gwebi in Midlands, Kukwanisa Vocational College in Manicaland, Chipadze High School in Mashonaland Central and Goromonzi High School in Mashonaland East,” Ndengu added.
Work at the majority of the centres has begun with most structures already done. The Chicken houses are part of Irvine’s long term commitment towards the training of local farmers in poultry production and provision of affordable protein to the country.
Every year, Irvine’s target 20 000 people with training in modern poultry production. Recently, the company further took its poultry farming training to Zimbabwe’s radio stations and to the digital space via its social pages where bite-sized training videos were deployed as demand for training continues to grow. In a bid to reach a wider audience, training was done in Ndebele, Shona, and English.
Poultry farming has become one of the major income-generating projects and a source of employment for women and youths due to its low capital requirements. Irvine’s has been at the forefront of economically empowering local people in line with the company’s business objective of changing lives in Africa by producing affordable protein.