Amatheon Agri Zambia (AAZ) has opened its first ever community livestock centre in Mumbwa district to enable nearby farmers improve their livestock condition and access to market.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony in Mumbwa district yesterday, Fisheries and Livestock Deputy Minister Lawrence Evans commended AAZ for the gesture.
Mr. Evans said the platform demonstrates the important role that public-private partnerships played in uplifting the socio-economic standards in rural areas.
He said the facility would help cattle farmers to eradicate cattle diseases that had engulfed the area for a long time.
Mr. Evans urged the people of Mumbwa to take advantage of the facility and take their cattle for dipping.
“The people of Mumbwa are honoured to have received this dipping facility, it is a rare privilege. Government commends AAZ for this gesture and we hope that a lot of such facilities would be constructed in other parts of the country as well,” he said.
Mr. Evans observed that the livestock sector was key to the development of the country, adding that it accounted for about 42 per cent of the country’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the sector was also vital to improving food security, income generation and overall poverty reduction.
“The sub-sector has been identified as a strong lever for employment creation amongst the rural communities especially the women and youths.
‘‘It also provides animal draft power, manure, hides and skin for the manufacturing industry in Zambia,” he said.
Mr. Evans said Government would continue with the construction of livestock service centres throughout the country to provide extension services.
He disclosed that his ministry had embarked on the establishment of livestock breeding centres in all the provinces to increase the availability of affordable and appropriate livestock breeding stock.
“This will assist the small scale farmers to access quality and improved species of all livestock; this measure will ultimately result in increased livestock production and productivity,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, AAZ managing director Troy Minne said the facility was constructed at a cost of $15,000.
Mr. Minne indicated that the new facility had the potential to support 8,000 cattle and the organisation intended to open other similar centres in the future.
“Introducing a livestock component to our outgrower programme is another great milestone, and an important step towards the diversification of rural income sources.
‘‘The health of cattle in this district has room for improvement and through community livestock centres, animal health trainings, vaccinations and disease prevention services such as dipping will not only be promoted but readily made available,” Mr.Minne said.
And community representative senior headman Chikalalasha thanked AAZ for bringing the facility to the people of Mumbwa. He urged cattle farmers to work with AAZ and ensure that their cattle was dipped to eradicate animal disease.
“These people are doing a recommendable job; cattle was dying of disease. We are so thankful for this centre, our cattle is now safe,” he said.