Dellington Mabina and Kapron Shilling

K’Lusa empowering youth in Zimbabwe with livestock entrepreneurship skills

Growing up in the semi-arid and marginalized western side of Beitbridge District, Zimbabwe, like many youths in the region Dellington Mabina sought better opportunities across the border in South Africa, leaving behind traditional agricultural practices dominated by the elderly. Despite livestock production being a pivotal economic activity in this dry region, the industry's growth is hindered by migration-induced labour shortages, a lack of agribusiness skills, and limited investment, exacerbated by high youth unemployment.

In response to these challenges, the 'Inclusive red meat value chains for women and youth in eastern and southern Africa' K’Lusa project, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Solidaridad (SAF), and Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), is making strides in empowering Beitbridge's youth with agribusiness skills. This initiative spans various districts in Zimbabwe, including Nkayi, Tsholotsho, Beitbridge, Gwanda and Matobo.

One of the key focuses of the project is market access and marketing development. By introducing marketing initiatives, the project aims to create sustainable economic opportunities for youth, fostering positive behavioural changes among farmers. Through animal husbandry and marketing training, participants like Mabina have gained insights into the profitability of the goat business and learned to determine fair prices for their livestock, reducing reliance on middlemen.

Mabina shared his success story, stating, ‘Before I was introduced to the project, the buyer determined the price for goats. I became aware that I can also determine the price of my goats without having to share with middlemen. As it is now, I now know that I must plant fodder for my goats through the same training. I also get good money from selling the well-fed goats and I have managed to start a welding business. I now employ over five people.’

The K’Lusa project also emphasizes sustainable production practices and technologies, aiming to enhance livestock, and feed and forage production. Farmers like Kapron Shilling testify to the project's impact on their animal husbandry skills, attributing the growth of their agricultural businesses to the agribusiness trainings received. 

Shilling mentioned, ‘Before the trainings, I did not put much effort into what the goats were feeding on. However, it is different now because I watch what they feed on and how much supplementary feed they get so that I can realize maximum profits.’

The success stories of individuals like Mabina and Shilling highlight the transformative power of agribusiness education in Beitbridge, steering youth away from cross-border migration and towards sustainable livelihoods in the local livestock industry. The K’Lusa project continues to make strides in equipping the next generation with the skills needed to thrive in the challenging agricultural landscape of semi-arid regions.

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The K'Lusa Project