We see agriculture from two perspectives, crop, and livestock including aquaculture. This particular intervention is going to address our policy on livestock production. We have identified challenges in the Livestock sub-sector under these three broad areas i.e. production, quality, and marketing.
Zambia struggles with production because of disease burden, lack of extension services, and knowledge. In order to address production challenges related to the disease burden, the UPND Government will create safe zones around the country in livestock production areas. This zoning will help in disease control such that an outbreak in one zone is quickly contained before it spreads. We will also invest in preventative medicine. This means we will introduce programmes to prevent or minimize disease outbreaks. UPND will also provide Government extension services together with the private sector to cover all livestock production areas. These extension workers will also provide training to farmers to improve their husbandry skills which in turn will improve production. Farmers will be trained in producing for EU standards where the rate of return is higher. This also means Government will put money into our Balmoral Lab in Lusaka to be a centre of excellence for the research and production of vaccines and medicines. Disease prevention will be complimented by ultra-high-density grazing (UHDG) designated areas, where pasture will be restored by a Government, supported programme for the community open grazing areas.
In order to improve on quality, the UPND will invest in breed improvement. One of the things that Zambia has struggled with is breeds that are inferior. Whereas some goat owners with improved breeds have goats that drop kids twice a year, our indigenous breeds drop kids only once a year. This means that our breeds are slow by a factor of 1. By adopting breed improvement, Zambia’s current goat population would double every year. This will enable us to meet the demand for markets like the Arabian Gulf, Angola and DRC. We will also do the same for cattle and other livestock so that Zambian beef and other meat products can find their way into markets such as SADC and the European Union where meat products offer high returns.
We will actualize the marketing side by pursuing Government to Government contracts and MOUs. The challenge the current approach had is that, as much as we have agreements with countries like Brazil, they benefit Brazil more, this is the reason you have bananas and chicken from Brazil but not the other way round because of the challenges our livestock producers are facing on quality of products. Exported products must meet stringent phytosanitary specifications which cannot be currently attained because of poor production technics and breed quality.
With these interventions, it is expected that over 500,000 formal jobs, directly and indirectly, will be created in the agriculture sector will be created. This will in turn boost Government revenue which will be used for education and health provision; while widening the tax net which will mean reduced PAYE for the current employees who have borne the tax burden for too long as there have been no efforts in quality job creation.
Our economy needs to start functioning, and we are equal to the task.
HH aka Bally the Cattle Farmer
#Time for Change