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Thursday, 14 June 2012

A stagnating beef industry

ZAMBEEF recently announced plans to import cattle from Tanzania due to the scarcity of beef on the local market. The company says the decline in the population of cattle in the country in the recent years has resulted in scarcity of beef. The imports will come from Tanzania which has about 22 million herds of cattle compared to Zambia's 3 million. 

Relative to its outstanding natural grazing advantages, Zambia has a comparatively small cattle population. Our 3 million head of cattle translates in a 0.14 head of cattle per hectare of land suitable for grazing. In comparison, Zimbabwe has three times as many head of cattle per hectare of grazing land and Kenya more than four times as many. Our beef industry only contributes less than 1 percent of GDP. 

Consumption is also relatively low. Beef consumption per capita is lower than elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa and in the developing world at large, and milk consumption per capita is estimated at two-thirds below the World Health Organization’s recommended guidelines. International trade in beef and dairy products is limited, and there are very few exports of beef or dairy products through formal trade channels. Recorded imports of dairy products to Zambia are five times the value of exports but, overall, trade is not significant in either the beef or dairy industries. 

Simply put - there's something structurally wrong about our country in this area. Those interested to read more can check out this fact sheet fom the World Bank produced last year. 

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