Jotsholo Abbatoir: Strengthening community resilience through private and public partnerships

December 1, 2023

The emergence of climate change and its unprecedented effects demand adaptive sustainable solutions. Achieving sustainable development is not a one-man act that calls for collaborative efforts between different actors towards solutions that can contribute to Agenda 2030 on sustainable development. With this, the United Nations Development Programme has over the years strengthened its partnerships with both the public and private sector in a bid to harvest the best from different players towards the achievement of sustainable development. 

One of UNDP’s efforts under the Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund culminated in the establishment of the Jotsholo Abbatoir an exemplary model of a private and public partnership. It is situated in the Matabeleland North Province of Zimbabwe and provides services to at least 7 different communities with a herd of over 600,000 head of cattle. Since its establishment, the abattoir has slaughtered 7,714 cattle and 537 goats, making it a highly reliable and efficient operation. 

The Jotsholo Abattoir has become a model to reckon with the Government of Burkina Faso Government sending its representatives on a Study Tour to learn about the model and garner ideas of replicating same to fit their own context. The delegation also comprised representatives from UNDP Burkina Faso, who appreciated the Abattoir and its significance to the local communities. 

The Team Leader Colonel P.F. Rodolphe SORGHO highlighted that they selected Zimbabwe for the learning visit in which they would replicate and adapt the model to their own culture. Premised on the community-centric approach, the Burkina Faso Abbatoir is set to create market linkages and benefit local communities towards their enrichment. Colonel SORGHO emphasized their eagerness to understand more about the Jotsholo Abbatoir in terms of learning the roles of different partners so that they could foresee what challenges they may likely face when establishing their own as well as mitigatory measures. 

“We were happy to talk to farmers about how Jotsholo Abattoir is benefitting their lives. We also had a chance to see different processes at the abattoir. Burkina Faso is planning to establish a big government-owned abattoir that can slaughter at least 300 cattle and 100 ruminants daily. Our project will be community-centric and have mini-projects involving the community.” 

Colonel SORGHO emphasized that the Burkina Faso Abattoir model will be a community-centric and government-owned initiative. 

“The abattoir we have seen is a public-private ownership but ours will have government ownership. We may hire a private player to run the abattoir, but the managing type will be different. By making sure our abattoir is community-centred, the local people will commit themselves,” he added. 

Enhancing the social structure of local communities. The Jotsholo Abattoir initiative kickstarted because farmers needed a nearby place to sell their livestock. Previously, they had to travel 200 km to access markets, which resulted in increased transport costs and losses in their cattle businesses. With the establishment of the abattoir, the local authorities are now able to collect revenue in the form of livestock levies. Farmers also receive localized production training and technical advice from partners like the Veterinary Services and Agritex, departments under the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development. 

"We are now able to collect cattle levies that are 10% for slaughter. The other money goes to a community fund that is used for community development. We have been able to equip a borehole supplying a deep tank and a nutrition garden with solar," said a Local Authority Representative. 

The abattoir has significantly contributed to the improvement of livelihoods for local communities and farmers. At least 17 youths are employed in various roles at the abattoir, while women farmers now have social capital and improved economic status. The abattoir has helped farmers with knowledge on how livestock permits are issued, grading, pen fattening and how to meet the standards of the abattoir. They can now easily access localized grading and boosting centers, and no longer have to bear the cost of having their animals slaughtered at abattoirs 200 km away. 

Maina Maphosa, a local farmer, said, "We now have ample time to do other things. We are grateful for the help we receive from experts. Transport costs used to affect us but we now have a local truck that takes our cattle to the abattoir free of charge. This has saved us time and money. We also do maize production and try not to waste anything. We grind mealie cobs into stock feed and plant fodder crops for livestock feeding. These crops can be grown with irrigation. We also use sunflower because purchasing stock feed can be expensive. We try our best to feed our livestock with stock feed to ensure that our cattle survive. Previously, we would do pen fattening 200 km away.” 

Ntokozo Mlilo, another farmer from a nearby ward, added, "I learned about cattle rearing and farming different crops. As a widow, I was able to breed my cattle and get money to buy my own thresher. I now thresh for myself and other people. I also make handiwork during my spare time and sell it for extra income. It's easier for me to attend village lending and savings clubs." 

Building resilient communities through Private and Public partnerships emphasizes the importance of creating strong and sustainable communities by bringing together bothprivate and public sectors. This partnership can help to create more resilient communities that are better equipped to face and overcome various challenges. 

The UNDP ZRBF programme was created to respond to severe economic, environmental, and social shocks and stresses faced by rural communities in Zimbabwe. It was a multi-sectoral initiative aimed at building the resilience of at-risk individuals, households, and communities. The programme was supported by the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), and the Swedish Embassy (Sverige). The activities under this programme were implemented as a response mechanism to mitigate the effects of various climatic, economic, and social shocks and stresses that affect rural people and communities in Zimbabwe. Starting in 2016, the programme activities covered 18 rural districts of Zimbabwe at the district level.