Sunday, September 01, 2013

Chikwanda urges Bembas not to eat seed animals
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thu 08 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

FINANCE minister Alexander Chikwanda has appealed to the people of Muchinga and Northern provinces not to eat the seed animals the government plans to invest in the area.

Yesterday, the government signed a K100 million loan from the African Development Bank for livestock infrastructure development in northern Zambia as diseases and unfavourable climatic conditions continue to inhibit animal growth in traditional areas of southern and western Zambia.

The livestock development which targets to directly benefit 100,000 livestock farmers, including 33,600 female-headed households, will be implemented in the nine districts of the Muchinga and Northern provinces.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Chikwanda who is also acting Republican President, said despite the two provinces having the best climatic and geographic conditions for growing animals, the natives were traditional pastorates.

"So, these animals, I hope you'll not eat the cattle," Chikwanda said.
"So, we shall ask Mr Shamenda to go and teach you how to look after animals. I am aware that a project of this nature in an area with low livestock population is prone to risk of low utilisation of infrastructure. I am, however, assured that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has embarked on an ambitious programme to restock livestock breeding centres at Mbesuma and Kalungwishi ranches. They have also established artificial insemination facilities in the project area. Livestock pass-on scheme for the youth and women will hasten livestock multiplication."

Chikwanda said there was need for a shift from the current targets of poverty reduction to poverty elimination.

"There are over 800,000 people including 400,000 women who will indirectly benefit from increase in supply of quality livestock products," said Chikwanda.

"Low productivity in the livestock sector is partly attributed to inadequate investment in productive infrastructure, limited availability of improved technologies and inadequate extension services. I am therefore confident that the focus of the livestock infrastructure support project on opening market linkages will stimulate increased productivity, employment creation and livestock value and supply chain development."

And AfDB resident representative in Zambia, Dr Freddie Kwesiga said growing a robust livestock sector in northern Zambia would help the country tap into the growing markets of East Africa.

Dr Kwesiga said said AfDB was investing a lot in boosting infrastructure connectivity between Zambia and East Africa, a move that would benefit from increased investments in livestock production in Northern Province.

He said the northern part of the country was more favourable for animal development and more economic routes like the Nacala corridor.

"Moving northwards means you should be prepared for the new livestock zone," said Dr Kwesiga. "So, what the bank is doing is looking into the future and we are appealing to the farmers, scientists to look to livestock as it is profitable."

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