Friday, January 16, 2009

Govt to establish statutory bodies in livestock sector

Govt to establish statutory bodies in livestock sector
Written by Florence Bupe
Friday, January 16, 2009 4:51:54 AM

AGRICULTURE minister in charge of livestock and fisheries Bradford Machila has disclosed that the government is in the process of establishing statutory bodies to direct the livestock industry.

Officiating at the Livestock Industry Stakeholders meeting in Lusaka, Machila said there was urgent need to institute effective partnership between government and livestock industry stakeholders if any meaningful growth was to be attained.

He reiterated that the livestock industry was an integral part of the vitality of small-scale farmers and a major component of the commercial agriculture sector.

“The livestock sector contributes significantly to the agricultural industry in Zambia as it accounts for about 35 per cent of the total agricultural production and about 7.4 per cent to gross national product,” he said.

He noted that livestock production in the country had continued to be far below its capacity due to the various challenges affecting the sector.

Machila cited animal disease outbreaks and poor support services as some of the main challenges facing the livestock sector.

He called for the strengthening of district agricultural development committees dealing with livestock diseases, as well as a defined disease control vaccination programme.

Machila further bemoaned the backdated legislation governing the livestock industry, particularly the poultry sub-sector.

And Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba urged the government to boost agricultural productivity through the provision of incentives for the industry.

“It is very clear that as a country, we need to move into an emergency mode before we are faced with a major crisis. On our part, we have made national budget proposals… zero rating all agricultural products for VAT (value added tax) would have an immediate impact through the ultimate lowering of consumer prices,” said Zimba.

The meeting drew various stakeholders from the livestock industry including farmers, consultants and traditional rulers.

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