A recent parliamentary report reviews the current state of livestock farming in Zambia. The livestock sector is worth over $1.5bn in Zambia, accounting for around 35% of agriculture’ share of national gross domestic product (GDP). The good news is that the sector has experienced stead growth in recent years. Beef and dairy products are growing around 7% and 10% annually respectively. The poultry industry has also doubled in size over the last ten years.
However, despite these positive trends the sector continues to face many challenges which are helpfully highlighted in the report . These include inadequate development funding and taxation reform from GRZ; rampant livestock disease outbreak; poor disease control mechanisms; poor supply of breeding stocks; high cost of cheap and long term finance; poor infrastructure such as roads, and a lack of processing facilities in the form of abattoirs and milk collection centres, among others; high energy costs; shortage and high cost of feedstock; absence of input support; inadequate and inappropriate research; poor extension support; poor organisation of marketing services; and high number of levies on livestock and livestock products.
There’s currently no livestock development policy to deal with these challenges. The government is allegedly in the process of developing one. But it’s unclear how robust such a policy is likely to because one of the things that are clear from the report is that GRZ is working with poor statistics. The exact numbers of livestock in the country are not known. Without proper data it is challenging to formulate strategies that address the key problems. The report is embedded below and can also be found via the National Assembly.
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Chola Mukanga | Economist | Writer
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