Despite the livestock industry being a low performing sector in Zambia, it remains a very important sector in the country’s economy, Fisheries and Livestock Minister Greyford Monde has said.
He said the livestock industry contributed about 45 percent to the poorest smallholder’s household income annually.
Speaking in Livingstone when he opened a livestock stakeholders consultative meeting for Western and Southern provinces, Mr Monde said the livestock industry was however threatened by animal diseases such as the Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP), which he said claimed most of the lives of cattle in Western province and part of Kazungula district in Southern Province.
He said since the outbreak of CBPP in 2000 in Western province, and later on the spread of the diseases in 2004, to Kazungula district of southern province, many farmers lost their means of livelihoods.
“In Kazungula district, the cattle population drastically reduced from 45,000 heads to 36,000 within a period of two years. The farmers’ livelihoods were adversely affected through the deaths of their animals that they depend upon for meat, milk and draught power,” Mr Monde said.
He said because of the effects of the disease, the ministry with the support and participation of traditional leaders, stakeholders had been highly instrumental in systematically and effectively implementing CVBPP control and eradication measures since the outbreak in 2000 in Western Province.
“In some cases the measures employed such as the test and slaughter of positive herds and movements restrictions may have appeared to be very harsh but they were necessary and intended to control this disease and achieve the growth of cattle.
“In view of these positive developments, my ministry is determined to continue with these systematic control and eradication measures in order to roll back the disease to the national boundaries,”he said Mr Monde said in order to reduce illegal inflow of cattle and facilitate safe trade, his ministry has proposed cattle branding as one of the measures.
“To reduce illegal inflow of cattle and facilitate safe trade, my ministry is proposing measures such as cattle identification through branding, maintenance of stock registers, enhanced policing of cattle movements by the community through traditional leadership taskforce and other stakeholders like stock theft wing of the Zambia Police,” he charged.